In schools that value good school/home relationships, parents and teachers should offer positive feedback to each other in a variety of ways.
Creative and forward-thinking schools find ways for teachers and parents to offer thanks and congratulations to each other. There are many ways to reinforce good teaching. A flower on a desk, a note of praise to a supervisor, a potluck teacher appreciation supper or lunch, or a gift certificate for a meal -- these gestures all go a long way in making a teacher feel valued. Teachers and administrators also need to express their thanks for even the smallest contribution from parents. This might be the gift of time (as a chaperone on a field trip or a member of a telephone "chain" to send messages to one another), or a service (such as teaching the children in the class how to create a website) or the creation of teaching materials or resources (making books on tape, finding a guest "expert" to do a presentation, etc.). When parents feel that their contributions are valued by teachers, they are more likely to provide a continuous stream of support that benefits the entire school.
A great many expectations are made of teachers who are too often undervalued. Parents, too, are busier than ever, and they appreciate it when schools offer them a "menu" of valued ways to help the school. To keep the creative energies flowing, both teachers and parents need to know that their efforts are appreciated; they need to find many ways to say to each other: "Thank you for a job well done."
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