As a teacher, you want parents who are supportive of your teaching techniques; who extend classroom activities and learning opportunities at home; and who volunteer when needed.
As a parent, you want the best education possible for your young child. You want a caring teacher who shows your child respect; who is knowledgeable about child growth and development; and who demonstrates a professional attitude in the classroom.
Regardless of needs and wants by both parents and teachers, one thing is certain: You both want what is best for the child and for this to occur, parents and teachers must build a working partnership which has heavy concentration on communication.
In an interview with the T&T Guardian, San Fernando Boys RC teacher Judy Mungal described her love for teaching as the motivation behind her Web site Parents As Teachers which seeks to establish and maintain a relationship between parents and teachers.
One cannot help but notice Mungal’s enthusiasm when she speaks about education and her passion to ensuring parents are involved in their children’s school lives.
Though it is a given that parents may not know everything pertaining to the school curriculum, according to Mungal, based on her observation, “most parents want the best for their child or children, regardless of their social status and educational background.”
To help parents, Mungal started the website Parents As Teachers and explained that the site is geared towards assisting and highlighting the positive relationships between parents, teachers and students.
“My goal as a teacher is not just imparting knowledge to my students, but to educate all parents how to become effective teachers of curriculum, in their home environment.”
A graduate of the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Mungal has pursued studies in Psychology and Early Childhood Care and Education. With 19 years experience as a teacher—ten teaching pre-schoolers and nine at primary school level—the mother of two boys said the idea to establish the website came a few years ago, after she observed the disconnect between parents and teachers.
“I wanted to bridge that gap. With the whole issue of globalisation and almost everything being in a digital era, the idea of the website assured me that you can still maintain a one on one rapport with parents,” she said.
Such relationships are important, if not crucial, at ensuring parents involvement in their children’s welfare. Mungal said her site carries important information and resources which seek to establish open communication with parents early on in the school year.
“I maintain a website with important information and resources which includes the schools curriculum,” Mungal noted: “and I obtain the e-mail addresses of all my kids’ parents and use those for the majority of my communication.”
The teacher said the site is updated on a regular basis and exposes children, parents and teachers to fun, yet educational activities.
“It’s important when parents spend time with their children, encourage them, learn with them and appreciate them,” Mungal said.
The site also provides a parent and student portal, which highlights the activities undertaken by Mungal. Such activities include field trips and parent/teacher workshops.
The workshops, are aimed at educating parents in the areas of Language and Mathematics. The sessions are held on Saturdays and are attended by parents who receive lectures from experts in the academic areas.
Mungal said despite the many challenges faced “there have been positive outcomes such as the overwhelming support of the parents.
“The lecturers from the universities who are willing give support and businesses in the community which support with educational materials.
“It’s interesting to see how the parents’ perceptions of their child differ from the child’s perception of himself or herself,” Mungal said.
Stating she is of the belief that the school environment should emphasise not only on a positive relationship between teachers and students, but moreover on teachers and parents, Mungal said when this is achieved positive values are established. Similarly learning experiences in the school can be reinforced in the home.
The website has so far been hailed a success by parents and has become one of the most recommended educational sites in the country.
Parent Vanessa Friday-Ramesar describes the site as user friendly, “being created by a teacher and parent who believes in partnership in education between parents and teachers.
“Mrs Mungal uses different learning aids and has shared with her students’ parents the benefit of online educational sites which she personally subscribes to,” Friday-Ramesar said.
Adding that the organised workshops for parents have assisted greatly in teaching reading and mathematics to children, Friday-Ramesar said such programmes need to be applauded since they assist in child development.