The Importance of Building Parent-Teacher Relationships
My first year as a teacher, I was terrified of parents. Phone calls, emails- all communication with them terrified me. Looking back, my reasoning was limited: I was always afraid that if they were contacting me, it was because of something I did wrong. I taught at a well-known private school, and the stories about parents from veteran teachers in the building were elaborate and brutal.
A few years into my teaching tenure, I began to realize how incorrect my perception was. Sure, there were parents who wanted to challenge me, but in general, I found that parents were often my first line of action when I wanted to help, nudge, or connect on a different level with a student.
I went through some trial and error before understanding how to work with parents, and the following is what I’ve learned along the way...I share it in the hope that it will help you too:
Working with parents made simple!
As parent-teacher conferences loom, educators start to get nervous. We work hard to get all of our ducks in a row-- the test score data, the report cards, and the examples of student work. There’s an enormous amount of anxiety and stress thinking about how to accurately convey details about each student’s successes and struggles. Will parents push back on my assessment of their child? How in the world will I squeeze in all I want to say in a few short minutes? Will the parents even show up?
Since becoming a parent I’ve been able to sit on the other side of the table and see things from a different perspective. I’ve reflected on the purpose of the parent-teacher conference and come to the realization that less is more! Less data, fewer numbers and more stories, more connection.
Reframe your thinking, save time and make each meeting work for everyone with our 4 secrets to successful parent-teacher conferences!
Communication is Key!
Depending on when your school year started, you’ve probably made it through the initial sprint of setting up routines, establishing the foundation for your class culture, and everything in between. Now as you move into the fall, it’s time to evaluate and refine your communication with families.
- How are you letting them know about your classroom’s activities?
- How are they learning about the progress of their children?
- How are you getting families involved?
Check out these four tips for communicating with your students’ families throughout the school year.
The parent phone call can often be a scary and intimidating situation for even the most experienced teacher. Below is a sample script designed to help make the most of the precious few minutes you have on the phone with parents, covering key concerns and communicating effectively.Read More
Have the back to school nightmares started yet? They’ll come. They always do this time of year. All teachers seem to suffer the same fate in August-- sleepless nights worried about misplaced lesson plans, a classroom full of students and not enough student desks, or alarm clocks that don’t go off on the first day of school. Those nightmares are a cruel indicator that summer is over and the new school year is right around the corner.
Relationships are built on communication and start with a warm and welcoming “Hello!” Classroom teachers have a special responsibility to build positive working relationships with parents, guardians, and families of each student on their roster. Research proves the power of first impressions and common sense supports the importance of this teaching and learning goal. However you choose to send out that first greeting - with intention and a little bit of effort, it will pay off - for students, families, and you, the teacher!
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