When preparing to become a teacher, you have a lot of courses in college that detail the developmental and educational needs of students. You do not typically get training on ways to communicate with parents as a teacher that will create a partnership.
Some teachers come into the field terrified to talk with parents. Parents can be understandably protective of their children. Below are 5 ways to communicate with parents as a teacher that will help build a good relationship between all parties.
1. Offer Communication With Parents In Many Modalities
This is an important thing to go over with each parent during back to school night. You can have a class preference like ClassDojo, but let the parent know that you are open to use modality they prefer. When they hear your willingness to accommodate them, it will start the relationship on a positive foot.
2. Communicate Positive Messages To Parents Once A Week
Choose one student a week to send a positive message home on what they did in school. It may be more advantageous to choose two students a week. This will build those relationships faster. Plan a set time each week to do this.
When parents hear positive things about their student coming from you, they will be more willing to work with you if an issue does arise. If not, a parent may feel like you have it out for their child.
Your student will likely hear these positive messages when they get home as well. They will no doubt feel proud of themselves and like you more for pointing out positive things about themselves.
An example of what to say to a parent would be, “Ayisha was struggling with a math concept we learned this week, but she kept pushing! She would not give up until she understood it. I am happy to say her perseverance paid off! I bet she is proud of the hard work she did.”
3. Keep All Parent Communication Documented
This can be a hard one to do, as teachers are being pulled from many directions. It is something that is vital though if you have a parent go to your admin over an issue.
If you can show your principal all the times you have talked to the parent and what was discussed, you will be in good position.
When I was a new teacher, I did not think this would be necessary. I thought parents and I would be all good! I was so wrong. There are often times of miscommunication and students telling their own version of stories to their parents. It is important to document EVERYTHING!
A great way to do this is to create a Google Sheet and have a tab for each student. Put the date and time for each conversation you have along with a brief note of what was discussed.
4. If You Use Digital Communication, Be Prepared for Miscommunication
Communication through text can be tricky due to missing all the body language and intonation we use when we speak in-person. A parent may mistake something you say due to this. It is something we have to deal with in the modern age.
Building relationships with your students and parents will help clear these miscommunications fast. If those relationships haven’t been built, it may be harder for parents to know your true intentions.
5. Build Parent Teacher Relationship If Possible
Building relationships with students is one of the biggest things you can do to increase student engagement. The same can apply to parents. All of the above tips are trying to make it so you can build a positive relationship with your students’ parents.
Having a relationship built will make parent conferences so much easier. My biggest stressor my first year was having a parent be mad at me. I had no idea what they were thinking because I was not communicating with them at all except for that day.
There will be some parents that do not reciprocate or even want you to back off. The important thing is you tried.
What are some tips you have for way to communicate with parents as a teacher? Post them in the comments below I would love to hear them!