Support a Parent, Build a Community

Posted on Jan 18, 2014 in Professional Blog

I love teaching children. I love provoking their thoughts, questions and discoveries.

Recently, it occurred to me that I spend quite a bit of time teaching parents, too. As educators, we spend countless hours communicating with parents in order to enhance student learning. During parent-teacher conferences, we discuss academic progress, but also delve into social/emotional issues, family dynamics and learning dispositions. We make ourselves available for parenting conversations every day, as we support families and facilitate home-school connections.

In previous years, I’ve presented workshops for parents on literacy, numeracy and technology. I’ve tried to clarify what’s happening “behind the curtain” of their chid’s education, so they are empowered to contribute time, knowledge and skills.

parenting

This week, I facilitated a workshop on parenting, itself. I was apprehensive. I was out of my depth. After all, I am not a parent! I have given birth to exactly zero children of my own. I have taught hundreds, but at the end of the day, they do not come home with me for bath-time & bedtime dramatics. Would they see me as a fraud? Would I come across as ignorant, arrogant or preachy?

I decided to take the risk because I believe my school is already an institution which supports and strengthens families. I believe my school & all its families are one community, raising children together, leaning on each other and sharing our expertise. I was right!  What unfolded was a wonderful, affirming session, where experienced parents shared anecdotes, questions were plentiful and all went home with “something new” or “something strengthened” in their toolkits.

So, here’s a parenting workshop – prepared by a non-parent! It represents the values and research of an educator who loves children and cares deeply about the wellbeing of every family in my school.

References:

Biddulph, S. (2001). The Complete Secrets of Happy Children. Sydney: Harper Collins

Gordon, T. (2000). Parent Effectiveness Training. New York: Harmony.

Please contact me if you would like more detailed notes in English or Chinese.

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