Getting along with parents is a skill we must learn to be effective teachers. Communicating with parents and working with them is always going to be a part of what we do as teachers. Here’s 4 ways you can connect with parents and build a positive relationship with them, even the difficult ones.
1. Treat parents with respect.
Parents want to be treated as we all do, with respect. Parents want to feel valued and important and as their child’s teacher you have a responsibility to honour them and respect them.
2. Listen and respond.
Many times, parents simply want to be listened to. They want to feel heard and they want to know that you understand what they are saying. One of the best ways to communicate that you are listening is to respond with, “So what you’re saying is…” and then insert your summary of what they have just said. When you speak, ensure that you make eye contact, listen carefully, and respond appropriately. (This is especially important in Parent Teacher Interviews. I’ve written about this here and here).
3. Communicate regularly.
Often, the issues that parents want to discuss arise out of a lack of communication. You must communicate with parents on a regular basis and try and find opportunities to talk to parents about positive things not just negative things. Use a variety of ways to communicate – email, notes home, phone calls, face to face meetings – and work out what works best for you and for the parents you are communicating with.
4. Get parents involved.
Involvement creates ownership. Parents really do enjoy using their skills/talents/interests/experiences to support what you are doing in the classroom. Don’t assume that parents don’t have time or don’t want to be involved. Most of the time, parents are just waiting to be invited. Be observant and listen to your students and to their parents and look for ways to include them in your learning experiences.
This week’s assignment:
Which one of these four points can you focus on this week in order to help you connect with parents? Choose one and notice how it helps you communicate more effectively.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
QUESTION: What ways do you connect with parents? Would really love to hear your thoughts. Simply click here to leave a comment.