I just read a quick blog about how elementary school parents should prepare for Parent-Teacher conferences.
For parents of teenagers: Will you connect to your teen’s teacher this year beyond the basic back-to-school night?
My guess is no.
Unless things have changed (optimistically maybe they have), parent involvement past 6th grade is pretty much off the table.
The biggest change you’ll experience is that there won’t be ‘official’ ways to connect to the school as you’ve had in the past You know, classroom parent, home room helper, PTO representative, and candy sale coordinator….mostly non-existent.
This will not occur because you don’t want a connection.
And not because there shouldn’t be one.
It will be because schools tend to wean parents out of the picture pretty soon after elementary school.
And realistically, there is little time, fewer resources, and frankly less interest on the part of the school, parent, student to have those connections.
This doesn’t mean those formal opportunities and meetings to hear about academic and social progress are any less important.
Unfortunately, the fabric of the home/school connection is fraying just at the time when it needs to be strengthened. (If I have this all wrong, please comment).
You will need to find other ways to maintain a connection with those who work with your teenager. Why is this important?
Because whoever that is, can give you another glimpse of your child in another venue which allows you to have a check into how they’re developing.
How can you get those connections?
Some ideas are below, none of which I considered ‘helicoptering’.
Instead, they are creative ways of parenting and making connections in these busy times.
After all, your teen has just spent a considerable amount of time in a different environment.
Plus you’ve either spent time, money, or resources on the activities, and you have a right to know
Establish a relationship with your teen’s coach (beyond “why is he/she on the bench so much?”)
Connect with your teen’s camp counselors, director, after the summer is over to see how they did.
Send your teen to an after-school faith-based program, and connect with the staff about your teen’s progress in social and educational areas.
If your teen belongs to a youth group, chat with the coordinator about your teen’s social experiences.
After your teens attends any teen program, check in with the staff regarding the above.
Please share your comments and thoughts, I’d like to hear from you.