Improving Parent-Teacher Communication
Parents and teachers have the same goal - providing their child with the right tools for academic success. Therefore, it seems more prudent to work together than to be pitted against one another! A big step toward this alliance is the building of effective communication and this precedent is set at the beginning of every school year.
For many parents, work and other time-consuming activities get in the way of truly becoming involved in their child's education. Just as you set forth expectations for your students, put together a helpful list of parental roles and expectations as well. To encourage out-of-classroom learning, give parents practical and easily-implemented ideas for helping their child with homework, preparing effective study spaces, methods for exam review, etc. Send home a weekly syllabus so that parents know what will be happening in the classroom and can help their child prepare for assignments or even plan ahead. Knowing that they are considered a 'part of the team' will greatly impact many parents' desire and willingness to foster effective communication.
Now that parents know what is expected of them, let them know how you plan to keep them in the loop. Here are some important elements to remember.
- At the start of the school year, inform parents of the appropriate times and proper methods of communicating with you.
- Find a way to provide up-to-date classroom information and happenings through a blog, school web page, weekly email, or newsletter.
- In addition to school-wide report cards, provide individualized academic and behavioral progress reports to parents periodically through 'Friday' or 'homework' folders, notes home, or even a telephone call.
Then, after you've done your best to keep parents informed, remember to answer their questions, concerns, or comments with compassion and honesty. These policies will go a long way to improving parent-teacher relationships, providing an open environment for learning, and equipping students with the tools for academic success!