28th Jun 2009 at 5:38 pm #42250
Hi everyone. I attended a meeting today in my school for electing the new governing body. It was shocking to see how some parents neglect their role in education.Out of 620 learners only 19 parents attened the meeting ,which was postphoned two weeks ago.Let me share some of the frustrations that we are experiencing on daily basis.Learners don’t do homeworks,parents don’t even bother to come to school whenever invited to discuss thier children’s performance, and worst of all, they dont collect term progress report.Can you plaese help us with the strategies that can change the situation.Your inputs will be of great assistance to us.
18th Apr 2012 at 10:26 am #42255
20th Apr 2012 at 8:48 am #42254
Hi Lungile – interesting topic indeed. Well if I may add my cent’s worth to it with a confession that I am one of those parents who hardly ever get the opportunities to attend any school meetings unless they are set up for a Saturday morning. I have my valid reasons of course. Most of these PTAs are usually set up for during the week and it is usually early eveings, which is a problem for most working parents like me.
I am (un)fortunately a very hands-on mother with both kids at school and no helper during the week; which means I rush home after work to the kids from one school while in time to rush home and start with the cooking, bathing and the rest. So, there goes my days. Oh did I mention that I also do not have any support structure in Joburg (grandma back in the Free State – only assists during the school holidays).
Having said all that – I hope you get an idea of how hectic my life is during the week from when I wake up in the morning and getting everyone ready for school, hectic day at work, attending lectures some days of the week (and still find at least an hour and half to catch up studying after kids go to bed and doing odd assignments and preparing for next class) and doing my normal duties in the office. This is by the way an everyday routine in my house.
You would agree with me when I say; it would be nice if these meetings are then scheduled for that hour on a Saturday morning before we all start with the weekend and its activities then. The reason I mention the weekend is because I am more than involved in weekend activities at school – be it fun runs, fund-raising activities and all the likes. So, you see it is not like the likes of me do not want to get involved; it is simply the wrong timings for these meetins. And yes, the weekends get so full in our school when these activities happen because ae all attend and take part.
In closing; it would be nice if the schools consider some of the parents’ situations as well and not just ‘blame’ parents for ‘not wanting’ to partake or get invloved with kids’ education.
20th Apr 2012 at 11:12 am #42253
We had our meeting some time ago to vote for our new SGB we were short about 20 people, fortunately enough i am on our schools PTA and my husband was on the previous SGB, so its our duty to attend. We had another meeting and did not need the same amount of people to vote, maybe the education department also needs to think about the amount of people that needs to vote a school with lots of students needs lots of parents to attend to vote. One school had their SGB meeting and a school concert the same evening, knowing that the parents were not going to attend the SGB they came up with the brilliant idea and they involved the foundation phase and included all of them in this concert. So maybe next time this will work. At our school the parents have this thing i pay school fees i dont need to get involve in any school activities cause my fees are paid and that is so not fair towards other parents that makes lots of effort to come to meetings etc. The last thing ” i loved the brochures about the election of the SGB” its done on lovely paper but could they not have used that money to do something to schools it must have cost them a penny to print. What a waste of money.
20th Apr 2012 at 11:50 am #42252
Very good question. Part of the problem I think is that people are not used to participating. After years of just being told what to do, many people don’t realise that having rights comes with also having obligations.
Some ideas: if you think of what will get parents out to the school, think of what they are interested in. A concert where they can see their children performing is a good idea. Also think of something they can win – like a free uniform for their child. Or an award for a parent who has made a positive contribution – their name will go on a board in the school or name a classroom after them – something like that. Or they can score points for attending meetings and at the end of the year everyone who has full points can go through to a draw where they can win something. Or what about getting somebody important/interesting to come & do a talk first – especially someone who will do it without being paid.
21st Apr 2012 at 2:58 pm #42251
Hi Lungile: Good topic!!Instead of assuming that absence means non-caring, educators must understand the barriers that hinder some parents from participating in their child’s education. As educators we often don’t take into account how a parent’s own school experience may influence school relationships. The experiences of a parent who was labelled “a boy in trouble” yet he was a troubled boy, creates mistrust and prevent him from participating more fully in his son’s education. Yet, we cannot say that he doesn’t care about his son. On the contrary, his own personal school experiences create obstacles to involvement.
Parents who have dropped out of school do not feel confident in school settings. These individuals’ limited schooling makes it difficult for them to help their children with homework beyond the early primary level. For some, this situation is compounded by language barriers and lack of written literacy skills. Yet the norm in most schools is to send home schoolwork with little information for parents about how it should be completed.
As mentioned by Makhotso Lekele, time constraints are also a primary obstacle for parents whose work doesn’t allow them the autonomy and flexibility characteristic of professional positions. Some parents work at physically demanding jobs, with mothers expected to take care of child-care responsibilities, husbands as well as school-related issues. Other parents work nights, making it impossible to attend evening programs and difficult to appear at daytime meetings that interfere with family obligations and sleep.
At times, parents’ financial concerns present a major obstacle to participation in their child’s school activities. Poor parents are torn between the pressures of stretching a tight budget and wanting their kids/them to belong. This lack of a sense of belonging creates many barriers for parent which prevents participation from school activities.
Parents who are not fluent in the medium of communication often feel inadequate in school contexts. Cultural mismatches can occur as often as linguistic conflicts
Whether it is for social, cultural, linguistic, or economic reasons, these parents’ voices are rarely heard at school. Perhaps, as educators, we too readily categorize them as “those other parents” and fail to hear their concerns. Because the experiences of these families vary greatly from our own, we operate on assumptions that interfere with our best intentions.
AS EDUCATORS WE SHOULD :
1.Let parents know exactly how they can help. Some are active in church and other community groups, but lack information about how to become more involved in their children’s schooling. The difference between parents who participate and those who do not is that those who do have recognized that they are a critical part in their children’s education.
2.Encourage parents to be assertive. Parents who do see themselves as needed participants feel strongly that they must provide their children with a positive view of of education and it’s many advantages.
3.Develop/Earn the trust of parents. In the opportunities we provide for involvement, we must regularly ask ourselves what messages we convey through our dress, gestures, and talk.
4.Build on home experiences. Our assumptions about the home environments of our students can either build or sever links between home and school. Too often we tell parents what we want them to do at home with no understanding of the rich social interaction that already occurs there
Too often, the social, economic, linguistic, and cultural practices of parents are represented as serious problems rather than valued knowledge. When we re-examine our assumptions about parental absence, we may find that our interpretations of parents who care may simply be parents who are like us, parents who feel comfortable in the teacher’s domain.
Instead of operating on the assumption that absence translates into non-caring, we need to focus on ways to draw parents into the schools. If we make explicit the multiple ways we value the language, culture, and knowledge of the parents in our communities, parents may more readily accept our invitations.
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