Communication is Critical
The Importance of Effective Communication between Teachers and Parents
I have been teaching for almost nine years, most of that time being in the traditional classroom. When I came to FLVS last year, I was seriously impressed with the level of care and importance that is placed on effective parent communication.
Regular communication, however, does not necessarily equal effective communication. Whether meeting face-to-face, virtually, or by phone, misunderstandings can happen. I wanted to share with you some insights and tips I have found useful as a teacher to keep communication with parents effective:
1. Keep the success of the student at the center.
The purpose of communication with a parent is to help ensure his/her student is successful. Making sure the parents understand the information sent to them is important. Sometimes the data can be confusing. Take the time to explain each area and answer questions/concerns as needed.
2. Get to know each other.
As teachers, a tool for effective communication is to get to know families outside of the academic area. Ask questions; see how they are doing. You may want to include some fun pictures or information about yourself in progress reports. This allows parents to see you as a real person and can open lines of communication. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to help your student be successful in class.
3. Offer tips for success that can be done at home.
When discussing the student’s progress, offer tips for success that can be used at home, outside of the classroom environment. This empowers parents to be able to help their students succeed. Sometimes parents may be overwhelmed with responsibilities and not know where to begin to help a student who is struggling. Suggesting something as simple as a pacing guide may make a world of difference!
4. Stay positive.
Even in the most difficult or dire situation, stay positive. Edify and encourage the parent and student, and let the parents know that success can be achieved. Putting a positive spin on a difficult situation can really encourage trust to grow in the parent-teacher relationship.
The most useful tool to help a student succeed is a good working relationship with his/her parent or guardian. Parents can help support you, encourage you, and enforce tips to help the student do his/her best in a course. Don’t forget to reach out, encourage, give focused information, and stay positive. Parents will thank you for it!
Post by: Carrie Flynn, US History teacher