10 Tips for Teachers Working with Parents October 24 2011
The teacher – parent relationships is without a doubt important to the success of children in school. If the teacher and the parent can’t get on the same page, the child will feel pulled in two different directions and have trouble succeeding. The following are 10 tips for teachers to help promote a working relationship with parents of their students.
- Let the parents and the students know what you expect upfront. Start off the school year right by letting your students and their parents know what will be expected of them throughout the year. Lay out rules and guidelines that they will have to follow so that there will be no surprises along the way. This includes behavior and academic expectations. A syllabus is a great way to explain everything to the students and their parents.
- Have an open line of communication. If you want a good working relationship with your student’s parents, you must make yourself available to them. How will you communicate with them? Give them your professional email address, the school telephone, and the hours that you will be available after school. Encourage them to call or come by the school when there is a problem. Communication is the key to solving many problems.
- Send weekly updates to the parent on how the student is doing. Parents need and want to know the progress of their children. If the parent is aware of how his or her child is doing, he is less likely to need conferences with you. Working together involves keeping them up to date on the progress.
- Let the parents know if the student is misbehaving to avoid a problem getting out of hand. Keep the parents informed on the behavior of the child as well. Send home a weekly behavior report. Many times, if the student is not doing well in your class it is because of behavior problems. Don’t try to handle these situations on your own, get the parents involved.
- Stay on a schedule and inform the parents immediately if something changes. Parents want to be informed of the daily routine. What days will there be homework? What days will there be tests? Make a schedule and stick to it. This can help the parents keep track of what is going on. If something in the schedule changes, let the parents know immediately.
- Inform parents of additional avenues for success. As an educator, encourage the parents to seek out other avenues for success for their children. Provide them with websites and valuable information that can help them encourage their children to learn.
- Be caring and compassionate with both students and their parents. How you act toward parents and students will be a good indicator of how they act towards you. If you aren’t being caring and compassionate to the needs of others, you can’t expect it in return. You likely chose the teaching profession because your care about the lives of student. Let this show through your actions.
- Strive to find ways to keep the parents involved. Encourage parental involvement by giving your students projects that their parents must help with. You may be surprised at how much parents are willing to help.
- Don’t discuss other student’s issues. It is important that you keep the issues of other students in your class private. When working with parents, it can be easy to get caught up on the gossip train. As a professional, keep things that you know about other students and families to yourself.
- Be open to friendship. When working with parents, you will begin to form friendships. Be open to this option while still remaining professional. Don’t overstep your boundaries. You still have morals to uphold as a teacher.
The tips listed above will help you as a teacher learn how to effectively work with parents. Are there areas of your teaching or the relationships that you have with their parents that you can make better? Improve communication by keeping parents involved. Whether it’s through a weekly email or an occasional phone call, let the parents know that you truly do care. Working together for student success should be the goal!