Families & the Community

How Can Parents Best Support Teachers? We Asked

By Hayley Hardison — June 28, 2022 3 min read
Illustration of a parent and child outside of a school building.
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When parents and educators can effectively work together, magic happens in the classroom and at home.

Pandemic-era schooling has been anything but easy for this delicate relationship. Educators have been stressed by parent and administrator demands. The pandemic worsened staff shortages, leaving parents in the lurch. And the culture wars have increased distrust between the two parties and debates about who gets to decide what’s taught.

Education Week reporter Libby Stanford recently wrote about Jill Biden’s speech at the 125th National Parent Teacher Association convention, where she publicly advocated for stronger parent-teacher partnerships. “Together, [parents and teachers] can lead the change that our children need,” Biden said in her speech.

How might these partnerships be strengthened? On social media, we asked educators to share the most helpful ways for families to support them in the classroom. Here’s what they had to say.

Engage in students’ learning

Some educators explained how parental involvement in student learning can go a long way.

“Help them practice and study at home, especially multiplication facts and reading.”

Sandra DeSimone

“Read newsletters and emails. Check your child’s assignment planner. Spot check their homework as needed. Don’t tell them homework is optional. Teach them to manage their time. Make sure they get adequate sleep.”

Susan Marie

“First, please give correct phone numbers to teachers and staff, then answer your phones. Come be involved in school activities during and after school. Correspond with teachers about work so you know what students are working on...”

Jenny Gordon

“Teach their children to love learning.”

Olga Payne

Healthy habits start at home

Though children and teens spend a sizable chunk of their day facing a whiteboard, learning happens at home, too. Many educators responding to our query said that disciplining students appropriately and helping them establish healthy habits at home will translate into the classroom.

“Communication, enforce a bedtime that gets your child adequate sleep, teach your child respect, boundaries, and rules, believe that even if I am not perfect I definitely have your child’s best interest at heart, pay attention to what media your child is consuming, and hold your child accountable.”

Mariah DiPlacido

“Speak respectfully about your child’s teachers. Demand that your child respects the teachers as adults and professionals who want to help them grow and learn.”

Stephanie Crawford Reininger

“Teach them manners! Please, thank you, I’m sorry - these words, said with sincerity!, make ANY situation easier for everyone.”

Jennifer Mosser Fredrickson

“Don’t get in arguments with your child before school. Teach your kids coping skills and use them. A bad morning can really set the tone for the day and teachers can try to turn it around, but it doesn’t always work.”

Cassandra Hamza

“Feed kids healthily, keep a fairly consistent sleep schedule, read to them, talk with them, set limits & help them learn skills like sharing, coping with feelings, zipping/tying, facing mistakes w/ perseverance & kindness. Teach them ownership for their actions & learning.”

@lolipoplisa28

Trust teachers and advocate for them

Many teachers pointed to a necessary foundation of trust in and respect for the teaching profession to improve learning outcomes for students.

“Trust in my professionalism and expertise the same way you’d trust another professional with similar credentials. If you don’t like district-chosen materials, advocate with the school board. If you’re frustrated with teacher turnover, push for higher pay and more benefits. Teachers are leaving the profession in droves because of negative interactions with parents, the assumption that we are choosing learning standards/boxed curriculum, and pay that is tens of thousands of dollars below what other [licensed] professionals with similar levels of education earn.”

Meg Flanagan, M.Ed

“Be vocal to their school committees and town finance committees about fully funding schools to keep class sizes down and put supports in place for students”

Andrew Tessier

“Honestly, just don’t bash or make fun of teachers or teaching.”

Nyssa Thomassen

“The most helpful way a parent can support me in the classroom is to trust my experience and ask questions when they occur. Lethargy and entitlement are the enemies of education”

Michael Morton

“By trusting what we are doing in the classroom to help and support their children. We are trained to know how to help their children. We work tirelessly all year to do so. I’d rather the parents not complain or challenge us at every turn. Have faith in the process.”

@Holteacher

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