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Every Teacher's Guide to Working With Parents

Every Teacher's Guide to Working With Parents

  • Gwen L. Rudney - University of Minnesota-Morris, Coordinator of Elementary Education

June 2005 | 128 pages | Corwin

Transform teacher-parent relationships into a strategy for children's success!

While most parents strive to support their children with the best parenting practices, both teachers and parents often find themselves struggling to reconcile conflicts that can result in hostility, defensiveness, and communication breakdowns. In addition, negative public constructions of parents perpetuate this dilemma, particularly for those parents who are already marginalized through poverty or language barriers.

Working from research in three key areas-parent development and skills, social and historical family influences, and parent-school relationships-educator (and parent) Gwen L. Rudney offers teachers:

  • Useful interpretations of parent beliefs and actions
  • Compelling insight into what parents expect from teachers
  • Key ideas that characterize the struggles that parents face while raising children
  • Practical strategies designed to lead to community, trust-building, collaboration, gratitude, and friendship with parents

Straightforward chapters offer teachers everything from theory to commonsense strategies for working with parents to improve life and learning for all children.

About the Author
1. Understanding the Lives of Parents: Why Do They Do Those Things They Do?
Scenario: "If the Parents Would Just..."  
Demands and Decisions  
What Experts Have to Say  
Quick Tips on Important Issues  
Popular Literature  
A Theoretical Look at Parenting Styles  
So, What's the Problem?  
What's a Parent to Do?  
Avoid Extremes  
Focus on the Target Goals of Parenting  
Try Hard...and Keep Trying  
The Kids Have a Role  
Children Grow and Change  
Parents Change and Develop Too  
Helping Parents Who Have Special Struggles  
Troubled Parents  
Parents With Troubled Kids  
Parents Love Their Kids  
Additional Resources  
Web Sites  
2. Collaborating With Parents: How Can Teachers Build Relationships That Work?
Scenario: "Is It Going to Matter?"  
Understanding Complementary Spheres of Knowledge and Influence  
What Do Teachers Mean When They Say They Want Support?  
What Do Parents Want From Teachers?  
What Qualities in a Teacher Are Most Important to Parents?  
What Positive and Negative Experiences With Teachers Do Parents Remember?  
What Do Parents Do When a Child Dislikes the Teacher?  
What Do Parents Do When They Disagree With the Teacher? a Personal Way  
Working With Parents: Key Strategies for Teachers  
Greet Parents With Respect and Interest in Their Children  
Solicit and Utilize Parent Questions, Advice, and Comments  
Think About Homework  
Develop "We-ness"  
Be Prepared With Interesting, Meaningful Information  
Be Honest...and Patient  
Be a Personal Way  
Ask Not What the Parents Can Do for You but What You Can Do for the Parents  
Coping With Difficult Parents...or Parents With Difficulties  
Sometimes It's a Difficult Situation  
Sometimes It's the Parent  
Sometimes It's the Student  
And Sometimes It's the Teacher  
Additional Resources  
Web Sites  
3. Advocating for Parents: What Are Powerful Messages We Can Share?
Scenario: "I Didn't Know How to Say It"  
Message One: All of Us Have Parents...and Most of Us Become Them  
The Problem With Ethnocentrism: Like Me/Not Like Me Thinking  
The Problem With Assumptions  
A Gentle Reminder  
Message Two: Many Powerful Factors Create Misconceptions About Parenting  
Remembering the Past  
Media Influences  
Habits of Mind  
The Real Deal  
Message Three: Most Parents Are Good Enough  
Children's Health and Happiness  
Time and Attention  
Encouraging Learning  
When There Are Problems  
Message Four: Successful Families Come in Different Shapes and Sizes  
Moms and Dads  
Single Parents  
What the Children Want  
Message Five: It Really Does Take a Village to Raise a Child  
Members of the Village  
What the Village Can Do  
Message Six: Schools That Advocate for Families Reap Multiple Rewards  
Attitude and Atmosphere  
Buildings and Bridges  
Communication, Collaboration, and Competence  
Parting Words  
Additional Resources  
Web Sites  

“Gives educators strategies to help involve, influence, and become partners with parents.  This book will be an asset to all teachers, especially beginning teachers in training, new teachers, and teachers who mentor other teachers. All teachers can be reminded of the important role we play in a family’s life.”  

Vickie Catalina, Teacher
Stephens Elementary/Middle School, Detroit, MI

“Teachers can easily use the strategies to be more effective communicators.  Most importantly, the entire book is discussing a problem that all teachers have. .. We all have unique circumstances, but we all want the best for the students.  How we do this is creating an effective plan that works for each individual child.  This book’s strategies make it seem possible.”  

Cami Sullivan
Middle School Gifted Language Arts Teacher, Smokey Road Middle School, Newnan, GA

“As I was reading it, I found things I could use in my next parent conference…The tone and style of the book really appealed to me.  It was a fast read because it was so practical and useful.  I wanted to keep reading to see what good information would come next."   

Kathryn McCormick
Teacher, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Gahanna, OH

“A practical and valuable tool to teachers and parents."

Monica Haeussler
Gifted Program Instructor, Central Bucks School District, Warringtown, PA

“I will be recommending this book to my principal for staff in-service training…. I think all teachers should read this as a great refresher on working with parents.  I highlighted pieces of information on almost every page."

Tony Vincent
Teacher, Millard Public Schools, Omaha, NE

“Parent user–friendly...not overloaded with professional jargon.”  

Karen Walker
Speech Language Pathologist, West Carrollton City Schools, West Carrollton, OH
Key features
  • A research-based guide to successful teacher-parent collaborations
  • Straightforward chapters combine theory, practice, case studies, workshop exercises, common sense strategies, and reminders for teachers working with parents in collaborative partnerships.
  • Ideal for parent-teacher organizations and for parent advocacy groups.
  • By educator (and parent) Gwen L. Rudney, author of Maximum Mentoring.   

Sample Materials & Chapters


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