Friday morning, 7:45 am, and still no Ms. Alexander. Tyrique’s mother and I have now set up four alternative conference times to meet about Tyrique. Each time she has said she would make it. Each time I have provided several oral and written reminders; and each time, she has not shown. Tyrique is not a major behavior problem, but he did come in among the lowest academically in the class. He could barely identify any of the letters in his name and struggled to pick up on basic book handling skills. We have a lot to discuss, but still, Ms. Alexander doesn't come. She does come, however, to other parental events: Family Show and Tell, Giving Thanks, Halloween Costume Parade, Tyrique's birthday party. She comes late, but she comes, nonetheless.
I grow frustrated and decide instead to focus solely on Tyrique and our work inside the classroom. With our efforts to target his needs in one-on-one, small group, and whole group interactions, Tyrique has now started to identify beginning sounds and some letters in words on his own. He can also write his name and read the names of his friends.
Is family support important? Of course. But what happens when difficulties with parental investment arise, even as early as pre-k? Does the child become a lost cause? Of course not. Should teachers relinquish their own responsibility? Just the opposite.