ESL Tip

Non-Conventional PTA/PTO meetings Part I

Hey, Everyone. Making contact with the parents of ESL students sometimes never takes place. Most of these parents work non-conventional hours (2nd or 3rd shift) and sleep during the day.  Something I found to be very effective with parent contact was having a Parent-Teacher day on a Saturday. What a Saturday???? Yep! Most parents were home on Saturdays, and believe it or not, MANY came and will come for you. I know Saturdays are precious to us teachers, but if you really want to meet those parents and establish a relationship with them, you will do it.

Start planning your meeting immediately during your summer pre-planning session. If communicating in a different language is a barrier start investigating someone your friends or colleagues may know that can interpret for you. Be sure you offer refreshments too. You would be surprised what stores and/or restaurants in your community might donate food. I will publish a part II next week.

8 thoughts on “ESL Tip

  1. I never thought about meeting parents on a Saturday or grocery stores donating food. Although I have not started my teaching career, I always thought having an untraditional meeting such as in a park might encourage parents to participate. Saturday is a good idea because most people are off. I would give up a Saturday every once in a while to benefit my students.

  2. Wow! This is a wonderful idea! I don’t know why I never thought about that! I haven’t started teaching yet either, but I will definitely use this idea! I think this can be a fun and inviting way to get parents involved. Often schools are intimidating for parents who haven’t graduated from high school. Great idea! Thanks so much 🙂

  3. I agree with you that is very hard to make contact with ESL parents. I have only met a few of my parents all year. I would never have thought about meeting on a Saturday! I have had some luck with donations for food, toys and clothes. Most places are very willing to give to those less fortunate 🙂 I definitely will try to do what it takes to make the contact with my students’ parents.

  4. I have never really thought about how hard it might be to contact an ELL student’s parents. However, after reading your post I now can see how it might be hard for an ELL student’s parents to make time for a parent teacher conference. It is crucial for the parents to be involved in their students educational life, especially an ELL child. I hope that it doesn’t ever have to come down to scheduling conferences on a Saturday, however, I will be willing in the future to do this if needed. I also enjoyed reading about what you said about bring refreshments to the conferences. I personally love to cook and bake so this will be no problem for me! 🙂

  5. You made a good point about how difficult it can be to contact ESL parents. I think having a parent teacher Saturday is a great idea. The teacher could even plan for students to participate and perform a play or poem over something they have been styudying. Also, this can provide a great social outlet for parents who know few people in the community

  6. what a great idea!! and sad to say I never thought of this. this is a problem i have encourntered quit often. i’m going to try to put it into effect now. i do believe you are right as well. my families are dedicated to their children and would come any day they could, if they were off work. Thank you!

  7. I think having parents come in on a weekend is a great way to enable them to be a part of their child’s education. Many times, I find that the parents want to be involved and help, but are unable to due to work and other obligations. Having members of the community donate food and beverages would help the conferences be more comfortable for the parents so that hopefully they will be ready and willing to listen to what you, as the teacher, has to say.

  8. I’m like everyone else in that I hadn’t thought of using a Saturday for meeting parents. I have met most of my ESL parents, but it is usually just the mom with the siblings. I sometimes wonder if some parents are intimidated by the language barrier. Meeting on a Saturday with an invitation for everyone to a social gathering would probably make the atmosphere more comfortable for those parents.

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