are a community. Some communities are effective environments;
others are not. As a teacher, you have a responsibility
to help your school to be an effective community.
It is important
to know what is needed to have an effective community.
Think of what you value in a community. It is a place
where you feel welcome. You know that you and your input
into community affairs are valued. As a teacher, you
will want to create that atmosphere in your school.
You will also want to make sure your students’
parents feel welcome and encourage them to contribute
to the community atmosphere.
ways that you can help build a sense of community with
the parents of your students. Building a network of
communication will enhance the effort. Communication
may take several forms. Today, many teachers use Web
pages to communicate with students and parents. Updated
regularly, you can post calendars, assignments, rules,
procedures, and more. Using email, teachers can communicate
with parents on a daily basis. (Not all parents have
access to email, so be sure to meet the needs of those
who do not.) Newsletters, positive notes home, and invitations
to the classroom to visit or volunteer will encourage
parents to be actively involved with their children.
are present in the classroom, it is important to let
them know that not only are they welcome, but also they
are encouraged to participate in whatever way they can.
Listen to the parents' concerns and try to work with
parents to find solutions to issues that may arise.
While doing this, let the families know that you value
the diversity they bring to your classroom. For example,
a parent who wants to volunteer but works during the
day may be able to type, cut out materials, or complete
another task in the evening at home. A parent who has
had a negative experience in her own or her child’s
education may need special encouragement to become positively
involved. Families from different cultural backgrounds
can be encouraged to share information with the class.