Teachers & parents must join to improve school attendance, educator urges
A former educator says teachers and parents can work together in a number of ways to make sure children attend school regularly.
Joanne Pearson spent most of her working career as a teacher in various aboriginal communities across British Columbia.
She says teachers need to create an atmosphere that isn't intimidating for parents. And instead of judging truant kids, work with them and their parents to help come up with solutions to turn the problem around.
"If a child typically comes to school at 10 a.m. as opposed to 8:30, when they're suppossed to, let's not judge the child or judge the parent for that," Pearson says. "Figure out a way to work together with the child if they're an older child, or with the parent, and say 'How can we get the child to come to school at 9:30, or 9 o'clock'?"
Pearson says teachers need to respect parents and be willing to learn from the community. She developed a policy on parental involvement that includes calling parents regularly, inviting them into the classrooms and making sure teachers are involved in community events.