Parents in school method - experiences
Family visits are an important element of cooperation, but they can only take place if the family is invited by the teacher in the kindergarten or school. In some cases it is easier to start teacher-parent cooperation, in others it is more difficult, for example when the family lives in a disadvantaged environment. In these cases, the reason why the cooperation between parent and teacher does not work is not [...]
Family visits are an important element of cooperation, but they can only take place if the family is invited by the teacher in the kindergarten or school.
In some cases it is easier to start teacher-parent cooperation, in other cases it is more difficult - for example when the family lives in a disadvantaged environment. In these cases, cooperation between parent and teacher does not fail not because the parent is not interested in his/her child, but because parent-teacher communication is very rarely based on partnership and may have been shamed in previous situations.
While teachers have a huge burden, and we are not saying that everyone should take on more, we are showing a good practice where the extra effort has helped to foster a good parent-teacher relationship.
Family visit in Nyírbátor
- We started working with Partners Hungary Foundation in autumn 2016. In Emese Erzsébet Nagy, I met a great person who is trying to build a bridge between Roma and non-Roma people at the cost of enormous efforts. And the bridge provides the possibility of bringing the two "worlds" closer together.
- In my class, in the first grade, 60 % of the children were brought to school by their parents. We were in daily contact with them. Some of them were also at the parents' meeting in September. For those who could not come, I wrote a letter asking them to contact me when they had time and I would be the
with children. I didn't set any boundaries, so far so good. When it suits them. And it worked.
- We agreed at the beginning that if there were any problems with the children in the class, we would discuss them together in school, not let them argue with each other, because that would not lead to good.
We have managed to do this! We were able to talk about issues that concern the children and they had the opportunity to
to contact us. We started working together based on mutual respect. I'm not saying that it was smooth with everyone, but time has helped in a positive way.
The Parents in School project has also contributed a lot to thinking together.
It is in its third year of successful operation.
- A new element this year was the family visit, aimed mainly at first graders. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have visited some places myself. It was an invitation-only thing, the parent invited me to their home. In our house the response was only positive: Auntie Zsófi is coming to visit us! But when? Everyone was curious. "You are welcome to come anytime, just before, but if she calls us, that would be good, because I can forget", said one mother.
- We made the appointments in advance and I think we were all looking forward to it with excitement. Two weeks ago, I was at school on a Friday afternoon, ran home after 4.30, unpacked my stuff, freshened up a bit and hit the road with my modest gift.
I know the city well enough, I thought, but I only know where the main streets are in the Roma area, where we are going to the beach. The children playing and walking outside greeted me with loud greetings and asked what I was doing here, even though I wasn't teaching them. From them I received confirmation that I was heading in the right direction. Tündi, the mother, was already standing outside the house, in plain sight, with her usual smile on her face and a hint of excitement in her eyes. I felt the same way. Of course, it's quite different after 3 years of knowing each other
go out somewhere, like in the autumn of first grade, when the relationship is still distant.
Family visit: excitement and shared joy
For Emie and me
Tidy little house, tidy yard, laundry on the patio dryer. On entering, I was greeted by a tastefully decorated, bright, beautifully furnished home. I was offered a seat, where my father was waiting, and my little pupil Emi, and we started chatting over cakes and drinks. First they told us about their home, how the house they now live in was built as a result of the extension. Of course, it's a common theme, as I also underwent a major renovation 2 years ago. Then the older daughter came along, and then eating, who likes what, and the problems of adolescence came up. Afterwards we talked about our school years, who went where, who was how old, and it turned out that we have some common experiences when we mentioned Nyírmihálydi, because my parents grew up there, my grandparents were there, I taught at the school for 4 years, and Sanyi, my father, is also a friend of that area. We talked about the gypsy language, the old crafts, the traditions, the possibilities,
about work and learning, and we tried to understand why this mostly mutually dismissive behaviour between Roma and non-Roma has developed. By the time we woke up, a quarter of a week had passed. Of course we couldn't change the world, but I think we had a good time.
From there we went to the Máté's house, where Tündi accompanied us. The little boy had fallen ill, his mum had posted a message on Messenger, and since I had given out the Mother's Day poems that day, I thought I would post them for him, but I also indicated that I would. Of course Martika, the mother was standing in the gate waiting for me to get there. She also invited me into the house, offered me a place to stay and a drink, while excusing herself for not having had time to clean up thoroughly, because Máté was ill. I must add that I was welcomed here by a neat, tidy, tasteful home. Who on earth cares if the house has been scrubbed from floor to ceiling? That's not the point,
but the love I received, the love I feel when I talk to these parents. She also told me about her social care exam a few weeks ago and how difficult it is for them now that her dad, Attila, is ill and can't go to work. She is proud that 3 of her 5 children have already finished high school and all of them have a profession. However, she also spoke of the things that a child who has gone wrong experiences as a shame, a failure as a mother, and
which is very upsetting for him. Now, this was the point where the crying started. I tried to reassure him that a parent can influence his child to some extent, can show him the right path, but he can't take it instead. He was freeing himself by not wanting to burden me with his problems. Burden? But that's a confidential subject you don't share with just anyone. Only with someone, someone you trust.
On Saturday afternoon last week, in the pouring rain, I went to Lizi's house for 4 hours. The mother, Margitka, was already waiting at the gate. A harmonious home welcomed me, and even the grandmother came over, who doesn't live with them by the way, but when the parents work, she often comes to pick up the kids at school and take part in the programs. We also talked to them like old acquaintances, about the children, the parents' start in life together, things at home, plans, and my approach to herding the kids around the school. It was really nice to hear that they think I have a slightly different spirit towards children than others. They had delicious pancakes that they made together, refreshments, fruit, and many other little things on the table. I also have a good relationship with them, which this afternoon has only deepened.
Thank you to all three of them for the opportunity to visit them, to see their lives and to get to know them even better! I wish that many teachers have similar experiences, because these moments make the respectful relationship that should work for children everywhere even stronger.
Zsófia Vadon-Zsadányi teacher
Nyírbátor Hungarian-English Bilingual Primary School
Find out more about Parents in School at our mediation conference on 31 May: