Parents are encouraged and expected to work together and communicate with teachers to ensure that the students’ and parents’ problems and needs are met. In Germany, it is expected of parents to actively engage in parent-teacher-meetings to get informed about your child’s achievements and difficulties in school. Therefore, teachers and parents need to work hand in hand to ensure the best development for the student. There is also the possibility to influence important decisions on the school, for example by being a member of the parents’ board (Elternbeirat). Depending on the school, the opportunities for parental engagement and representation can be very different. If you are interested in any kind of parental engagement, please contact the school or your child’s class teacher.
Parental Engagement at Home
- Helping with homework: Helping your child with their daily homework is important so that you can see where your child has difficulties and in which fields your child is already very good at. However, the child should not rely on your help too much and should still be able to do the homework independently. This way he or she will also experience a sense of achievement when they get praise from the teacher. If your child has some difficulties, indirect hints might be more effective so that your child can figure out mistakes by him- or herself.
- Alternative lines of communication with teachers: Often times schools offer alternative lines of communication such as e-mails, letters, phone calls or parent-teacher-chatrooms, where you do not have to come to school to gather information on current school events, important decisions or the performance of your child in class.
Parental Engagement at School
- In the Elternabend the class teachers inform about the status of the whole class, the contents of the current classes as well as upcoming class events and projects. An Elternabend mostly takes place during the first weeks of a new school year. It is also an opportunity to meet and link up with other parents of your child’s class. Usually, representatives for the parents’ board (Elternvertretung) are also elected among the parents during the Elternabend.
- An Elternsprechtag is an opportunity for one-on-one talks with the different teachers of your child. There are mostly two Elternsprechtage per school year. During the scheduled hours of that day, you can find each teacher in a separate room and speak to him or her about your child. Due to many parents taking that opportunity, you can mostly speak to each teacher for up to 10 min.
- The teacher of your child will inform you in time of the dates for both, Elternabend and Elternsprechtag, mostly through a letter. Sometimes you are requested to indicate if you will attend or not.
- If you want to speak to a teacher for a longer time or at a different day, you can schedule individual appointments all throughout the school year.
- Parents in the class: Parents sometimes have the opportunity to come into the classes and read to the children, talk about their work or other topics such as religion and culture.
- School crossing guards: Not only parents, but also older siblings, grandparents and other adults can become school crossing guards (Schülerlotsen or Schulweghelfer). They help young children to cross roads safely and are thus very important for their security.
- Guardian at a class excursion: Sometimes there is an opportunity for parents to support teachers by volunteering as guardian at a class excursion or field trip. There you will help the teacher to make sure the class stays together and follows the rules.
- School building and garden: Helping to keep the garden and school building in good condition is an important task that you might be able to help out with. Furthermore, you could also help maintain and grow the school library by hosting a fundraiser or helping to acquire new books.
- Initiating new ideas: Most schools continuously strive to improve their work and the structures for their students. If you have an idea what could help this process, schools will welcome your ideas and your initiative.
- Within the class: All parents or guardians of one class can be a part of the Klasseneltern(bei)rat or Klassenpflegschaft. Parents, teachers and students work together on topics such as homework, academic achievement, school projects, learning concepts and school related difficulties. The Klasseneltern(bei)rat/Klassenpflegschaft might also organize class excursions or help with school festivals.
- Within the school: Parent representation within the school for example through the Elternbeirat or Elternvorstand brings together the interests of the parents and students. These interests will be discussed with teachers and school authorities to shape the future of the school together. Normally you can get elected to be part of the Elternbeirat/Elternvorstand for one year, sometimes two years.
last modified: Tue, 10/02/2018 - 17:06