Children spend the majority of their day with either teachers or parents. Studies have shown that children whose parents-teacher relationship is healthy, perform well academically. Successful education of the child in all spheres needs a solid partnership between the parent and the teacher. Teachers benefit from having an inside view of the child’s psyche. On the other hand, parents are better equipped to academically support their children at home. It is an ideal, win-win situation for everyone involved.
Forging a good relationship with parents can be tricky for teachers, and a lot of this responsibility rests on their shoulders. Here are a few pointers on how you can establish a good relationship with the parents of your students:
Communicating often and well is an integral part of establishing a good relationship with parents. Every parent wants to know how their child is doing in school and improve. You can use email or phone calls to keep them updated on any important developments. Thanks to custom made platforms like Schoolmojo, you can engage parents productively without losing your privacy & focus. You can also use other apps like Class Dojo to keep parents apprised of how their child is doing. It’s best to have these important conversations on a dedicated platform rather than mix it with social media like WhatsApp or Facebook – to maintain decorum, avoid deviations & refer back to key exchanges.
More importantly, make sure always to share positive news about their child. For decades, a phone call from a teacher has been a child’s nightmare. Create a positive association by frequently sharing useful information and informing the parents of their child’s achievements and improvements. When you do call with negative feedback, be solution-oriented. Be compassionate and empathetic towards the child without cornering them inadvertently.
Communication is a two-way street. While you get to know about the child and his/her parents, make sure that they get to know you & the positive efforts you put with their child as well. It can create a virtuous loop towards a common goal of a child’s progress. Have fun ice breakers at Parent-Teacher Meetings, and open up communication lines where parents can raise questions freely and seek advice. Rather than a chore, make Parent-Teacher Meetings fun and something to look forward to for parents.
A positive attitude when you interact with parents can go a long way in dictating how your relationship is later. Always smile and get to know their names when you meet them. If the parent speaks a language you do not understand, find a translator in advance.
Parents do appreciate it when you explain how you conduct classes and answer any questions they may have. Take their input on how you can best help their child reach their potential. If they share any concerns with you, be sure to offer help and guidance. A lot of the time, their concerns may seem needless, but always listen to them carefully. Parents know their child best and can be essential sources of information for their continued growth and learning.
Pay attention to the language you use, and do not make any assumptions about their situation at home. Find out their preferred mode of contact, and use it whenever you need to. Alternately, enroll them into your preferred mode of contact & frequency of it. Follow through at appropriate intervals. In this regard, it is very useful if the school subscribes to a ‘Parent-engagement’ platform for all staff rather than let each staff have to labor to choose an appropriate app.
To strengthen the parents’ role in a child’s learning, it is always a good idea to have events or activities which let them be part of their child’s education. Parent volunteer activities, parent surveys, and open classroom days all help them feel involved and informed about their child’s education.
A collaboration between the parent and the teacher can be most beneficial for the student. Convey your expectations for the child’s progress and invite input on how you can get there together. In case of any problems, discuss practices you can adopt in class, and they can adopt at home to aid the child’s development. It is essential to avoid the blame game and brainstorm solutions together.
Encourage and invite them to share their perspectives and ideas. In return, suggest healthy practices that can be followed at home, such as a quiet atmosphere during study time, the extent of help allowed with homework, etc. In this regard, the School Administrator’s communication directly to all the parents at one go, sharing valuable inputs or links to third-party references or YouTube videos, will strengthen teachers’ own efforts.
Have consistent opportunities throughout the year where you can engage with parents and chalk out ideas for the child’s academic and emotional growth. Incorporate parent input in your classroom policies and lesson plans. Trust the parent’s instincts and be open to their suggestions. In return, explain your viewpoint as a professional and request that they trust you as well. Having an open-door policy will certainly help facilitate smooth collaboration.
A healthy relationship through seamless communication between the teacher and the parents can significantly influence the child’s academic success. More importantly, it also helps facilitate the emotional growth of the child. With both parties looking out for the child’s best interest, he or she is sure to attain great success in optimal utilization of her potential. The child’s growth is what both parents and teachers strive for. While it may require more time and effort from both parties involved, it is undoubtedly worth it. A successful partnership between the two can help the child reach their full potential, in turn creating a better world for all of us.