5 Ways to Interact with Parents Better
As teachers, we spend most of our time focusing on interacting with our students. However, there is another group we should also focus on: our students’ parents! It turns out that better interaction with parents makes a teacher’s life much more comfortable. However, many teachers aren’t sure where to start making improvements. Don’t worry: we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to improving parent and teacher interaction!
Why Improve Interaction With Parents?
We've got five robust techniques to improve interaction lined up. Before we get to it, though, we must answer a question: why bother improving the way we interact with parents?
First, it's Ultimately a time-saver. Sure, all of these methods take extra time out of your day. However, they get parents more involved in their children's success, taking much of the hassle and pressure off of you; at least sometimes.
You'll also learn more about your students and their home lives. Every learner has unique challenges and needs, and this insight will make you a better teacher. Finally, your students will end up with better grades. And that's an outcome that makes everyone look good!
Now that you know why you should do this, let's get more into how you can improve interaction with parents.
It’s tough to argue with a classic. That’s one of the reasons that newsletters remain so popular among teachers.
Most students are required to take home various paperwork that ranges from homework to permission slips. Adding a weekly newsletter is a great way to communicate with parents while not overwhelming your students with too much information.
Be sure to highlight things like major exam schedules in your newsletter. It can help parents know when to help their students study and what, precisely, they should be focusing on!
2. Make Open House Count
Some teachers get defensive about the idea of better parent interaction. They’ll say, “they know how to get in touch with me!” As it turns out, though, many of them do not.
That’s why we recommend making the most out of your first meeting. Whether this is an open house event or some community mixer, be sure to tell the parents your prefered way to contact you.
For example, let them know you prefer e-mail and what your e-mail address is. And just like that, all of your students’ parents know how to reach out to you quickly.
3. Constructive Conferences
Sometimes, it feels like only one person dreads the parent/teacher conference as much as the students. Who are we talking about? The teachers, of course!
These conferences sometimes get ugly because the students feel like they are being teamed up on. Additionally, parents may be angry because they feel out of the loop.
We recommend using this time to set up constructive communication. For instance, you can acknowledge that a student failed their test because of poor communications and then suggest ways that everyone can communicate better.
This moves student and parent from a defensive position to a constructive one through the simple method of convincing everyone of a simple truth: you’re all on the same team.
4. The Texting Teacher
For some teachers, this may sound unthinkable; for others, it’s second nature. Here we go: consider letting parents have your cell phone number.
Many teachers fear this will lead to annoying late night texts. And let’s be honest: that may happen over time. However, the most concerned parents will use this as a quick way to find out information about the school and their student.
Think of this as another time-saving tool. By answering the occasional text message, you may end up avoiding angry phone calls or conferences that arise due to miscommunication.
5. Social Media
Not quite ready to give parents your cell phone number? Here is another modern solution: set up a unique social media account.
No, we don’t recommend letting parents friend your main account on Facebook. But setting up a separate account will give all concerned parents check on your updates from their smartphones, no matter where the parents are.
Furthermore, those parents can send you messages when they need to. It means you have the convenience of text messages while still maintaining a bit of distance from your students and their parents.
In education, teachers sometimes scoff at the idea of an "E for effort." However, when it comes to improving interaction with parents, almost any effort will start paying off right away.
Most of us got into this business because we want to help people, even if it's one person at a time. And Whether you're helping one parent at a time or every students' parents all at once, better interaction is the key to better education.
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