Over the last twelve months, it has become strikingly obvious to me, as an educator and parent, of the importance of communicating with parents on their child’s education.
Any great percentage of us parents will tell you that the obligatory question to our children at the end of a school day, that is,”How was your day?” is usually followed by a monotone but confident “Good” response. Of course the next question to voluntarily slip out of the parents’s mouth is “What did you do?” and like every “normal” child the response is “nothing”!
“Nothing”…nothing? How could you do nothing five days a week each and every week and still be smiling, at least in most cases.
I guess all our hard earned money going on school fees is paying towards a “good day where our children do nothing…hmmm.”
Luckily, I have the experience to know that “nothing” usually encompasses a maths lesson, an English lesson, some sport, a science evaluation or an opportunity to display artistic talents. This all comes under “doing nothing” at school. But why is it so many schools don’t showcase their teachers’ teaching and their students’ learning…and I mean showcase!
When a parent sees all the amazing learning experiences that their child is involved in then there is a reassurance that their child is doing more than “nothing” at school. Instead, school assemblies are becoming “interruptions” as opposed to opportunities for children to sing, perform, collect awards and so on. Merit awards are “time consumers” and are given out among their classmates as opposed to a full school audience where a child proudly walks down the centre aisle of a school gathering. Newsletters are becoming snippets of school life with educational jargon overshadowing the simple recount of the school athletics Carnival by a couple of children in Year 5.
Teachers do amazing jobs…students do an amazing job…parents want to know about it! Parents want to be involved. Sure, some would say it is the child’s fault for not informing their parents’ of the day but when you are 9 years old the only important part of the day is who got the best square in handball area at lunchtime, or a seven year old will tell you about their canteen excursion.
Some might see this desire to showcase as gloating about what the teachers are teaching and the students’ are learning and my response is “So what! Let me see more gloating!!” If Peter in Year 3 just created a design for a new recyclable bin then please “Tweet” me; or if the boy’s relay team just broke the school record, then take their photo and put it up on the school website; or if Year 1 just had the best day at the Botanical Gardens then please take some photos, create a slideshow and send out a group email to the parents..
Be it big or be it small, a positive school experience is a learning experience so please share it with me and let me know about it!