As many teachers are heading back to their classrooms for the start of a new school year, there are a lot of boxes to check on the back-to-school to-do list. Some of the things you may see on that list include classroom set-up, establishing activities for the first few days of school, setting expectations for your classroom, lesson planning, community building, and some other miscellaneous stuff. Something else that should be on the list but may not necessarily garner its own spot on the list is parent teacher communication. It is an innate part of being a teacher. Some may think of it as a necessary evil. But you may find that if you give it more thought than ‘call parents when student is doing poorly’, you’ll end up with parents as engaged, satisfied partners in their student’s academic successes.
Below are 8 tips to great parent teacher communication. What else would you add? Share it with the Daily Genius community by leaving a comment or by mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter – we’ll retweet it and share your wisdom!
8 Steps to great parent teacher communication
- Focus on the positive, not just the negative. When contacting parents and there is a behavioral or academic problem, include positives as well before discussing the issue.
- Don’t only be in touch when a student has a behavior or academic problem. Regular contact with parents means they won’t automatically cringe when they hear from you.
- Involve the student. When the student is involved with the parent teacher communication, it helps keep them honest. Empower them to show and tell their parents both the good and the bad about their school experiences.
- Livestream or Skype when needed. Not all parents can make it into the classroom for meetings or special events. Offering to do a Skype meeting or livestream a student performance keeps them engaged and connected with their student’s work.
- Use technology. Seems basic, but many parents will be much more responsive to an email or a text than to a phone call.
- Ask their opinions. This is their kid, after all. They’re sure to have some thoughts and knowledge about what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past.
- Collaborate and find some common ground. Many parents automatically see the teacher as the ‘bad guy’. Finding some common ground will help everyone feel like they’re firmly in the same camp, not in opposing ones.
- Bring parents into school and get them involved. Being involved doesn’t just mean the PTA anymore. Encourage parents with a variety of options – and make them interesting/fun!