A teacher’s guide to communicating better with parents
An open and clear line of communication between parents and teachers is vital for supporting children in their learning journey. When both these pillars of support – teachers, and parents come together, children tend to flourish in all areas of development.
Why is efficient parent communication important?
> It helps parents get a clear idea of what their kid is being taught at the school, and how are teachers helping the kid in acquiring or improving different physiological, social, and cognitive skills.
> By understanding their learning journey, the parents will be able to provide extra support and help at home for the kid to grow and learn better.
> When what is taught at school is being reinforced at home, children tend to learn faster.
> By communicating effectively with parents, teachers will get to know a child’s background and experiences closely.
> A clear communication would ensure that teachers are well aware of any developments at home with the child, which they could work on with them in their classes.
> Lastly, it helps parents gain a sense of trust both towards the concerned teacher and the school in general.
How to develop effective communication strategies
> Take initiative: Make contact and get yourself acquainted with a parent of every kid in the classroom. This would be the first step in the roadmap to building trust with them. It could be an phone call or a warm introductory message. This two-way communication could be used as an opportunity to establish your own and recognize their expectations as well.
> Be prompt: Let parents know as soon as you identify a problem or see a kid struggling in a particular area. The sooner the problem is discussed, the earlier you can start working on helping the kid overcome it. If not acted upon a timely manner, it could create new problems or end up being more difficult to be handled.
> Be consistent: Keep interacting with parents on a regular basis. This frequent feedback and update will help them understand the everyday needs of their child better.
> Follow up: Make sure to reach out and confirm if a set of suggested exercises is being done at home with the kid. This does not just help ensure the kid’s educational needs are being met properly, but also reflects sincerity and commitment towards the child’s better development.
> Be sensitive: Remember you are talking to the parents of a child. It’s a matter that involves a lot of emotion. So make sure your language is considerate of their emotions, and you’re sharing feedback in a manner that does not sound cold or scornful.
Here are some ways you can open up opportunities for better communication with parents
> Monthly/ weekly newsletters
> Open houses
> Curriculum nights
> Regular phone calls
> Parent workshops
> Field days
> Volunteering invite for events
> PTA meetings
> Activity updates
Some pro-tips to remember
> Use every opportunity to talk to them face to face. Update them on any important detail whenever you could. Your window could be the time when they come to pick up or drop a child from school.
> Send frequent newsletters, notes, and emails to keep them updated on any developments in the school – whether it is about their kid in particular or any upcoming event at the school they should know about.
> Make notes before every parent-teacher conference for every child individually. This way you’d know your talking points well and would cover every area that needs attention.
> Remember to talk about both – the areas of strength and weaknesses. This way a parent will know what their kid is good at and where he needs support to improve.
“Marissa is showing great progress in learning the alphabet. Maybe tonight you guys can do a little exercise and see how many she recalls.”
“Jack is slightly struggling with catching up with the stories I’ve been reading to the class. It would probably help him remember better if you could take him through the stories and ask questions about the same later at home.“
Suggestions you can make to parents
> Talking to children while riding to and from school or other places, getting to know what’s or their mind. This could be a nice way to get to know whether they are excited or anxious about anything in particular.
> Label different things in the environment together. This exercise could help children pick up new things from their surroundings and learn about them.
> Read them stories. Apart from being a good bonding exercise, this can also help children better understand and implement sentence formations. This can also help ignite their imaginations.
> Visit libraries, museums, and parks together. These places are a hub of knowledge. Trips to these spots can help children get familiar to nature, to history, and most importantly to ideas.
> Engage in drawing, coloring, and art activities with children. Art is a great way to express minds – you could learn a lot about the functioning of your brain’s child using these tactics.
“You can help Nicole practice the letter “N” while writing her name. A fun way to do this could be coming up with different words that start with the letter.”
“Lisa showed quite an interest in this book today. It is about animals. Maybe you can help her discover more by getting her familiar with other books about animals. Observe how she responds to this and let me know.”