I’ve even met parents at a pizza place to spend time with them. The impact of that lasted for years!
One of the most important parts of a teacher’s job is communicating with parents. Parents like to know how a child is doing in school, academically and socially. They also like to be updated and informed about school events. Remembering that you are in a partnership with parents helps your students to do better during the year. Finding the best way to communicate with parents can be difficult. Having a face-to-face conversation with every parent isn’t always possible. So how can you affectively communicate with your parents?
Here are a few tips to help you communicate effectively with parents.
Offer Your Parents Multiple Forms of Communicating
In today’s age, there are many different ways for parents and teachers to communicate. The typical e-mail addresses and phone numbers may not be the best options for the majority of your parents. (You should always take this information down, however, in case of emergency. Use our Parent Contact Information Forms to file it.) Sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter could help keep them up-to-date on class events. Folders in which you keep important information and can easily communicate back and forth with a parent could benefit some parents. If your school allows it, find or create a website specifically for your classroom that allows parent/teacher communication.
Having conferences with your parents is important for the growth and development of your students. Figure out the dates and times your school has set aside for these conferences. Prepare for these conferences from day one by keeping assessments and documentation of a child’s work. Encourage all parents to partake in these conferences to discuss struggles and achievements in the classroom.
If a parent provides a suggestion for their child in your classroom, don’t feel obligated to agree to the suggestion right away. Let the parent know that you would like to take time to think about the suggestion. Provide a timeline to get back to them and stick to it. Parents want to know that they are partnered with you in their child’s academics. You should have the opportunity to consult colleagues and establish other options for your students as well. If a parent is unable to make it to a conference, find an alternate way to consult them.
Gain and Maintain Trust
Parents are more likely to enjoy their child’s teacher if they know they can trust you. Avoid discussing a student to a parent that doesn’t belong to them. Talking to a parent about another student allows that parent to think you are doing the same about their child. Student matters should only be discussed within the staff and their own parents. Also, try to avoid any negative teacher-lounge-gossip about children. Whether or not your parents are around to hear it, there is a possibility it could get back to the parent. If you need advice about handling a situation, try to talk to your colleagues in a positive manner about the situation. Establish a parent’s trust from day one, and maintain it throughout the year.
Communicating with parents can help better you as a teacher. While it may seem like a chore from time to time, these conversations play a crucial role in your students’ lives. You’re doing such a wonderful job teaching them and helping them develop in the classroom. Communicating with their parents can help extend that outside of the classroom. Allow the relationships you build with parents to provide you with more time to Have Fun Teaching!