Every teacher knows that strong parent-teacher communication is a vital part of a properly managed classroom. It is so important that many schools are placing a higher emphasis on “family engagement.” To help you start the year off on the right foot, we’ve compiled the 4 best ways to improve parent-teacher communication.
Make the effort
While this may seem obvious, learning your parent’s names and a piece of information that is unique to them will make a world of difference. When you remember a parent’s name and how to pronounce it correctly it makes them feel valued. Parents are more likely to be engaged in the conversation when you are using their name and pronouncing it correctly. As Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
How do you gain respect from parents? You give it. Respect is fundamental in all relationships and is especially important when communicating with parents. How do you show parents you respect them? Treat them as if they are an expert on their child. That is not to say parents are always going to be right, but keep in mind parents have watched their child grow up for several years and may be able to provide you with insight you may not otherwise know.
Most parents want to know what their child is doing in your classroom and will appreciate any information you share with them. Don’t assume parents will always reach out to you to initiate a conversation. Many parents are busy, but just because they are busy doesn’t mean they don’t care about what is happening inside the classroom. Frequent communication helps build a strong relationship and ultimately makes it easier to bring up difficult topics when they arise later in the year.
Choose Your Tools
These days there are so many different methods of communication out there, it is nearly impossible not to communicate with parents. You can use traditional methods including phone calls and in person meetings. Or you can opt for more modern methods of communication: text, email, a classroom blog. Know that there isn’t one right way to communicate with parents. Ask parents what method they prefer and utilize it.
Looking for more tools to communicate? Check out this list of free apps for keeping parents and teachers connected.