How do we prepare parents for differentiation in the class?
It was great to read Heather’s story about her AP classes and how the student’s parents were so unsatisfied with Heather’s teaching. It reminds me of our community here, to a certain extent. Not that extreme, of course! There seems to be a great divide between those parents that are so involved with their child’s education they are suffocating their child into fear and stress, and those that just want their child to behave in class. There seems to be no middle ground. In my experience, I have not had any parent come to my class to observe me or sit in on a lesson. (well, I take that back, I think I had a student that misbehaved years ago and the parent, as a threat, said they would follow their kid to every class, and they did! for one day) Other than that, my invitation to observe what we do in class has been void. Which is really unfortunate. I would gladly accept parent comments, suggestions, and concerns regarding my class. I shared my experience, or lack of parent involvement, with Chelsea and stated that “most do not” come to visit. The fact is, if I remembered everything I experienced, I think maybe three in my career, which is closer to extremely rare, than “most do not”.
Maybe there is some similarity with clinic doctors/nurses and their patients. I want to be knowledgeable about medical conditions, therapies, and medications. But I don’t want to tell the doctor about something I learned. I did once, about a new medication I read about on http://www.msn.com one day. It was a new statin drug available for high cholesterol patients that is about half the cost of current medications with similar effects. It was pure chance I read about it and then saw the doctor later that week. They didn’t know about it yet, but on a follow-up visit, they admitted that I was correct. It was a little embarrassing, and weird. I knew something a doctor didn’t. But that doesn’t happen on a regular basis!
After reading Jim’s blog, I responded to his graphic that stated what happens at school depends on what happens at home. There was a time in my early teaching career where I was asked, via a UA course, to survey parents about their role in school. I was surprised to find out that parents expected teachers to teach those things that parents should teach at home! (manners, behaviors, discipline) It made me think about those generations of kids that left the home in the village to attend a high school boarding school. There were parents that didn’t know how to parent because of their experiences in school (boarding school). It was really interesting. To this day, I think teachers have taken on many responsibilities that would be expected of parents. I suppose someone should teach the youth about the importance of manners, proper behavior, and discipline.
I still invite parents to visit my class for any reason, whether it’s to learn about differentiation, or any aspect about their child’s education. My doors are open.