With the holidays upon us, many schools across the Bay Area are getting ready to finish the semester. This means teachers are busy planning final exams and projects, and families are preparing to enjoy the holidays together. For many students, this time of year can bring up a strong overwhelming feeling as they scramble to turn in all assignments and projects on time. As teachers and parents, we can provide the support needed to allow them to finish the semester strong.
As a teacher, this is often the time of year where struggling students are pulling together to be able to pass the class. For many students, seeing a D or an F on their grade reports can cause them to shut down and lose motivation all together. In some cases, my students in Richmond, California are also experiencing challenging personal and family situations on top of the pressures of school. When this occurs, it’s important for teachers to remind students that they are capable of success. Sometimes a gentle reminder of their potential validates students’ emotions enough to push them to pass.
As a parent, I understand the importance of communication with my own daughter’s teacher. I use this to involve families as much as possible in their students’ progress in my class. Last weekend, I made personal phone calls home for families of students who were not passing my class. The responses I received ranged from shock and worry to concern and disappointment. I was able to communicate with families about ways we can work together to support their student to finish off the semester strong. Richmond is a working-class community. Many of the parents I spoke to mentioned not being used to having a teacher contact them so frequently. I responded with true gratitude for them taking the time to work with me in support their students, and was met with similar sentiments in response.
That following Monday, I saw a huge improvement both in student behavior and in morale in my classes. Parents had conversations with students about what they needed to finish the semester off strong. These calls were beneficial to parents since they now understood ways that they can motivate their students to improve. Students benefited from these phone calls as well, they got a better understanding of how strong communication between teachers and parents will benefit their success. As the semester comes to close and the holidays grow nearer, we need to continue to provide students with the resources they will need to be successful. The parent teacher partnership can serve as the perfect motivation for students to get to where they need to be.