(Episode 4!) Reframing the Role of Parents in Accountability: Fostering a Healthy Child-Home-School Connection

This week we get into what is arguably the most fierce-love-laced aspect of this accountability puzzle . . . the role of parents.  

I’m not going to lie: before I became a parent and was a barely-in-my-twenties fresh-faced English teacher,parents terrified me.  They could be incredibly supportive, generous, the best of partners.  They could also swoop in when I least expected and scream at me while I was scooping spaghetti onto plates for a school fundraiser because their perfect child had received an A- in my class.  It felt as though becoming a parent upped the intensity of the good and the bad: the emotion, the love, the help and generosity.  At the time, though, I thought the love and protective instincts had the potential to blind parents to the truth of their children . . .potentially evoking irrationality.  Now I know better.  We both had pieces of the puzzle of supporting their kid, and obviously a parent’s piece was a billion times bigger than mine, as their one-hour-a-day English teacher. 

Fast forward 18 years and I’ve got three littles and I am constantly plagued with guilt about how I fall short, I fall short, I fall short.  I fall short in helping instill their own accountability when I swoop in to fill my 8 year old’s water bottle in the morning.  I fall short in my own parent accountability in our school community when I avoid clicking those “SAPA volunteer links” at the start of the year. 

So whether you are a parent-faculty member, a faculty member who isn’t a parent, or a parent-parent, this episode is dedicated to you in all of the ways you excel and all of the ways you fall short.  We need all the voices we can get in this conversation, so we will hear from Michelle Portera (first grade teacher and momma), Jim Foley (history department chair), Honey May (kindergarten teacher and momma), Rachel Scott (tech integration and mom), and Frances Croft (SAPA master, mom, SA alum, and many other things).  What does accountability mean for parents of school-aged children?

1:23-3:34: Practical tips from Dr. Foley about what teachers need parents to know about how best to support their children in their schoolwork at home.

3:35-5:30: How teachers can have tough, honest conversations with parents by emphasizing the “why” behind their recommendations.

5:34-6:59: Why the accountability that parents help instill in children today will pay dividends in their future lives in college and beyond.

7:00-9:19 : What lunch clips have to do with fostering accountability (remember that book and then poster that was popular in the 90’s: “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?”)

8:48-9:30:  Accountability as a two way street.

10:04-11:01: Three layers for youth developing their own sense of responsibility: from self accountability to parent accountability to teacher accountability.

12:00-15:00: Straight-up wisdom from Frances Croft: why framing our children’s student roles as “their job,” thus separating it from our job as parents, is essential.  

15:18-18:30: Why kids learn so much more when we refrain from micromanaging and let them productively fail.

18:30-20:22 :Why parenting is not one-size-fits-all enterprise.

20:22 -26:49:  Why part of our role as parents might be to serve as our children’s advocates to help hold school’s accountable to serve our diverse learners, and the phenomenon of youth that hold it together at school but fall apart at home.

26:50-29:52: Why both parent and faculty perspectives can enrich each other, and why grace and open-mindedness is key; let’s all get on team “we are doing our best.”

30:06-37:03: Why Frances believes volunteering as a parent in the school community is worth it; the history of SAPA as “the triangle club”, connecting “child-home-school”; and how the question of “where do you plug in?” has a lot to do with fostering belonging.

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