As teachers there are several hats we have to wear and several things we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Our students may be the number one priority in our classrooms, but keeping the parents of the children happy is a close second. It is important to keep your parents involved with the learning that is taking place in your classroom. Parents play a tremendous role as a stakeholder in education. The way we communicate to them is an important part of who we are as educators.
Let’s be honest, the relationship we have with our parents will impact your school year with their child. Winning the hearts of the parents in your classroom is vital when it comes to your health and stress level. Dealing with kids on a daily basis can be stressful enough. Dealing with their parents can also become a stressors depending on the teacher-parent relationship established. It is important to develop healthy relationships with the students and their parents. Here are some things you can do to ensure you have a great year full of healthy parent communication:
The best way to develop a healthy relationship with the parents is to start early, like day one. Some teachers send flyers to their students prior to the beginning of the school year to introduce themselves. This is a great way to have your parents get to know you before they have even met you.
Typically, school districts have an open house before school starts or within the first weeks of school. The open house is an opportunity for parents to come to their child’s classroom and meet their teacher. During this time the teacher is walking the room and answering parent questions. There are some things that you can do to prepare for your open house:
Create a Presentation
When your parents walk through your classroom door you want to begin with a formal introduction. You can create a google slide or PowerPoint presentation that describes your classroom, what their child will be learning and the expectations for the year. The presentation will get parents excited about the school year. They will certainly be impressed with your professionalism and communication early on.
Prepare a brochure/flyer
Creating something tangible for your parents to take with them is key. They will be bombarded with information about your classroom routines, procedures and expectations. Writing it all out for them in a colorful and cute brochure with the most important bullet points will not only put a smile on your parents face, but it will ensure they are informed of how your classroom is ran.
Your classroom should be an inviting place full of color, adventure and comfort. Children are going to be coming to it for the majority of their life for the next 9 months of the school year. Make sure you put thought and time in your classroom set up. You want to make sure parents are comfortable with their child’s second home.
If the school doesn’t provide refreshments for parents during this time you want to make sure you have some. Teachers do not have to spend tons of money on refreshments. Shopping at stores like Costco and Sam’s can ensure you buy everything in bulk and it is much cheaper. I do not suggest breaking the bank, but I do suggest having something for parents and students to snack on as they tour your room. Providing water bottles and cookies can be cost efficient. The point is to have something that will add to your parents comfort, having snacks will make them more comfortable and your room more inviting.
Create a Communication tool
Once you have met your parents and laid out the expectations of your classroom, you need to establish an ongoing communication system with them. There are a zillion parent-teacher communication tools available to choose from. I would suggest you check out my parent communication tools blog post to learn more. With the endless options out there it is important to choose one that is more effective and fits the needs of your classroom. Some of these tools are geared towards older students while others are perfect for elementary school.
Choosing the right tool to use for the school year will impact how often you stay in contact with your parents. You want to establish the tool and have it already set up for parents before you meet them. There are some amazing tools out there and they can work in your favor as a teacher to help cut down on making daily phone calls.
Once you have set up the communication tool you will be using to stay in contact with your parents throughout the school year, stick with it. Whatever you choose at the beginning of the year you have to use it for the whole year. The worst thing you can do is change in the middle of the school year and introduce something else to your parents. Consistency is the key when it comes to using these modern tools for communication. If you find that you don’t like the program then you can explore options for the next school year.
You also want to make sure you are consistently using the communication tool to reach out to parents. Several tools make it easy to post homework, announcements or even assignments given in class. Using the tool daily or a few times a week will keep your parents informed and happy with what is happening in their child’s classroom.
As teachers we have a lot to deal with, administration, students, peers, and most importantly the parents. Establishing a healthy relationship with each and every one of your parents is key when it comes to a successful school year. What are some things you have done to ensure a successful parent-teacher relationship in your classroom? share your ideas below. We would love to hear from you!