As education majors prepare to become the next generation of teachers, they need to realize that parents could be playing more of a major role in the evaluative process. Some state leaders want parents to evaluate teachers by way of surveys. One example is linked with Ohio and House Bill 5. State Senator Tim Grendell has criticized the way teachers are paid and supports the idea of parents rating an educator according to what they think of them as their child’s teacher (go to the link below for more information). http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/05/state_sen_tim_grendell_comment.html
What could that mean for teachers? It depends on the survey that a school district might create. We need to ask ourselves the question “What makes a great teacher?”. Yahoo! Answers provides one example of the various ways people define a great teacher. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080503172920AA2aODo
If a survey was to be created by school board members…I wonder what the questions posed to parents might be. Could they ask the questions “Was your child assisted each time he had a problem in school?” or “Did this teacher have at least 5 conferences throughout the school year to talk about your child’s strengths and weaknesses?”
Then we should consider the possibility of a parent committee developing the survey. Possibly the questions may be “Did the teacher provide inspiration for your child each day?” or “What activities did your child enjoy this school year with his teacher?” One can see…the types of questions that may decide the fates of teachers are immeasurable.
It is very significant that education majors focus on learning how to communicate with parents so that they understand what the needs of their students are (based on the parents’ input), what the needs of the parents are, and what they, as the teachers, will need to do to insure that all needs are met during the school year. This means that the teaching profession is for those who possess assertiveness, confidence, and desire to be the best teachers they can be.
There are numerous resources…not to mention Saint Vincent College courses…which provide ideas and strategies for communicating with parents. ED 400 and ED 410, pre-student teaching and student teaching, are the two field experiences which will provide the education majors at Saint Vincent College with experiences and a few lectures which develop this understanding.
There are also some great links online that inform teachers, especially new teachers, about this topic.
(provide personal parent input regarding school/parent communication)
(year long plan for maintaining good parent-teacher communication)
(communicating with parents at the beginning of the school year)
(how to involve parents in school)
(how to communicate with parents using TALK)
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.