Parents and teachers have the same goal: a school that bustles with bright, happy children who are excited about education. But the two groups have different roles, and sometimes working together can be a challenge. You can help make your parent group more teacher-friendly.
Be as welcoming to teachers as you are to parents. When a teacher attends a meeting, go out of your way to say hello. Show teachers how much you appreciate their efforts to be involved with the parent group.
Give teachers who show an interest in your group a chance to have real input. Listen to their suggestions. Incorporate their ideas. Let them know you’re interested in their perspective.
Ask teachers how you can help them out. Your parent group may be able to lighten their load by making photocopies or helping with special projects.
Keep intrusions on class time to a minimum. Avoid asking teachers to do a lot of paperwork or organizational tasks that take away from their teaching time. Make it easy for them to help you.
When it’s time to distribute funds, be fair. Don’t favor the teachers who are the most active in your group. If you give grants, keep the application process simple and clear.
Always check with the principal before scheduling an event to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the academic calendar. Let teachers know about schoolwide programs early on so they can plan for lost classroom time.
Don’t interrogate teachers who miss meetings or events. They may have commitments at their child’s school, a sick parent to care for, or a graduate course to attend.
Include teachers in discussions about big-ticket items your group is considering buying. Parents may want to replace the school’s sign, but teachers may be desperate for classroom supplies.
Remember to publicly thank teachers for their contributions to the parent group.