In a school of over 8,000 students in Metro Manila where class sizes reach up to 60 kids, any parent would worry about their child getting the attention they need for a quality education. Imagine on top of that, knowing your daughter is one of few children with disabilities at the school and requires additional support services. Will she get the attention she needs? Will she learn as much or as quickly as the sighted peers in her crowded class?
This was the situation for Grace, the mother of Angel. Angel is a blind student with a physical disability living in the Philippines. Luckily for Grace and Angel, Grace developed a positive relationship with Angel’s special education teacher, Leory. Building authentic parent-teacher partnerships are a crucial factor to a child’s education journey. The partnership between Grace and Leory created a nourishing environment for Angel to succeed—eventually matriculating into college and competing as a para-athlete.
At Perkins, we value the role of families in a child’s education and promote authentic parent-teacher partnerships. Building a positive relationship and trust between parents and teachers creates open lines of communication that ensure the child’s successful experience and learning in school and at home.
The experience of Leory and Grace in the Philippines offers an example of how a positive parent-teacher relationship might manifest. Leory became Angel’s teacher when she started first grade. As a special education teacher, Leory supported Angel’s inclusion in her mainstream classes for the next 6 years of elementary school.
I value parents in my teaching profession.Leory, Angel’s teacher
In an interview with Leory and Grace, Leory said, “I value parents in my teaching profession.” According to Grace, this value was apparent through Leory’s respectful listening to parents’ opinions and suggestions. For example, when Grace consulted with Leory about Angel’s interest in pursuing sports, Leory said, “Yes she can do it!” and found ways for Angel to participate in sports.
When Grace wanted to support Angel’s learning at home, Leory was always ready to share strategies and feedback with Grace. Leory also prepares training sessions on braille reading and writing for parents so that they can support their children at home. By working together, parents and teachers can extend classroom learning to home—and conversely, can integrate skills the child is learning at home, into classroom activities, which reinforces the child’s learning.
When it comes down to it, this powerful parent-teacher duo always found a way to collaborate for the sake of advancing Angel’s learning.
When it was time for Angel to start high school, but the school wouldn’t accept her, Leory stepped in as an advocate and oriented the school on how Angel could be included.
Leory claims she may not be the most skilled teacher, but she has love and dedication. For Grace, Leory’s efforts are validated by her track record with Angel, as well as other students in her school.
This has helped to build their trust in each other over the years. In the end, both teacher and parent attribute their authentic relationship to trust, respect, and good communication.