The ability to communicate effectively is important in developing many relationships. This is especially true for parents and teachers. The parent-teacher relationship creates a partnership that will last for the student’s duration in the classroom. It is important for everyone to work together to help the child be successful academically. Communication also eliminates any potential negativity in the relationship, which could happen if one or both of the parties feel like they are being left out of the education process.
One of the best ways to improve communication is to make sure the lines of communication remain open. As a parent, attend all events, conferences or meetings with the child’s teacher. Listen to presentations and set up a private meeting to discuss specific concerns or issues. Teachers can help improve communication by giving an overview of their curriculum at the beginning of the school year. Make sure parents know that communication is important and emails or telephone calls will be made throughout the school year to update parents on their child’s progress.
It is also helpful to exchange contact information with a teacher. This includes telephone numbers for home, cell or work and an email address where the teacher can easily make contact. Teachers should provide the same type of information and make sure parents know that they can make contact at any point, for any reason.
Stopping by to speak with the teacher periodically is another way to exchange information. Concerns or issues should not necessarily be addressed at this point. Just keep things positive, so that all interactions are not negative. When problems do arise, don’t react in anger or frustration and always go to the teacher first. Do not talk to the principal or administrator without talking about the situation with the teacher. Try to keep things positive and do not place blame or point fingers. It is important to work together with the teacher to find the best possible solution to help the child be as successful as possible in the classroom.
Communication problems can also be addressed by being visible at school. Parents can volunteer or join the parent, teacher organization. Participating in events and fundraisers will help parents be seen in a more positive light, especially if problems do arise and demonstrate that they are accessible. Teachers should also be involved in school functions, so that they can form relationships with parents and children outside the classroom. Telephone calls to an absent or sick child will also let both the parents and child know they care about their well-being, even when not at school.
For teachers, electronic grade books are a great way to improve communication with parents. These programs often have the ability to send frequent report cards, sometimes as often as every two weeks. Major homework assignments or projects can be posted on electronic grade books, which will keep parents informed on upcoming due dates. Making personal telephone calls to parents of children who are failing or in danger of failing is also a good way to address the situation and take proactive measures before the end of a semester or the end of the school year.