Problems in the school-family relationship

Vignette #44


I teach in a primary school in a disadvantaged region. In our school, there are mainly students with low socioeconomic status. I find it hard to motive my students. I feel that the values that the school tries to uphold are contradictory to what students experience at home. Everything I achieve with my students gets demolished at home. Parents usually do not care about the learning of their children, typically they regard schooling as a waste of time. They only allow their children to go to school because it is a mandatory prerequisite for getting a social allowance from the local government. We have an ill-relationship with parents and often they do not come to parent-teacher conferences or open office hours. It is possible that these parents also had negative experiences during their studies with schools, often they are drop-outs themselves, therefore they have a firm belief that learning is not important.

I am often reprimanded by one of the fathers that his son doesn’t need to learn the things that I teach him. The father reasons that he will teach his son himself to be a successful car-trader on-the-job, as he is earning more money than me (sadly, this is true).


I’m not sure how I can solve this problem: how can I improve the school relationship with parents for them to be engaged in their children's learning?


  • Discuss the situation with your colleagues (Tool 21)
  • Talk honestly with parents about the situation (Tool 8)
  • Try to think through the problem from the viewpoint of parents (Tool 34)
  • Search the internet for good practices on family-school partnership (Tool 35)