Communicating with parents/guardians is one of the biggest responsibilities
that a teacher has in their line of work. While you have the opportunity
to interact and affect the lives of the children you teach, they
ultimately are being raised by parents/guardians who have a strong
interest in their well being and education. If you fail to keep
a parent/guardian apprised of their child's progress in school,
you are missing a wonderful opportunity to bridge communication
that is essential in a child's life. Parents/guardians and teachers
should work together to make sure children are learning effectively
and gaining the most from their education.
One way to be certain that you are communicating with parents/guardians
effectively is to utilize forms and notes that you send home periodically
to let parents/guardians know how their child is doing in class.
Examples of forms and notes might include:
- Notification of failed assignments
- Quick notes to say a child did something good today
- Parent communication log that is filled out each time you
communicate with a student's parent/guardian
- Classroom newsletter
- Volunteer letter asking for parents to come and help in the
Make the most of parent-teacher conferences. Of course you will
have information to share with parents/guardians at these conferences,
but also realize that parents will have questions they want to
ask as well. Give them time to express their thoughts to you,
and not make them feel rushed because there is an appointment
behind them. Parents/guardians feel secure with teachers when
they feel like their concerns are important to the teacher. If
there is a situation that simply cannot fit into a parent-teacher
conference timeframe, then make the effort to meet with them at
a better time when you can give them your full attention.
Use technology to your advantage. It literally takes a minute
or less to send an e-mail to a parent/guardian telling them how
well their child did in class or on a particular project. Send
home an e-mail address request form at the beginning of the school
year, and parents/guardians who opt to have messages sent to them
will appreciate that you actually follow through on doing this
at least monthly, if not more often.
If your school has a website, be sure to include a page on your
classroom. Update the site weekly and let parents/guardians know
how to find your class. This is a great way to communicate with
parents, and not have to speak to them directly all the time.
They will stay abreast of new things happening in their child's
class, and you will have the satisfaction that you created such
a wonderful resource for parents/guardians.
Sometimes parents/guardians are uneasy about contacting a teacher
because they feel like they are too busy to deal with interpersonal
conversations with them. You need to take the first step in breaking
down that wall. Perhaps you can have a parent/guardian visitation
day whereas they are welcome to come and sit in on the class for
a day. Let parents/guardians see their child's classroom and experience
first-hand what is being taught to them.
The keys to communicating effectively with parents/guardians
- Do it often. Don't let months go by without hearing
from you as to what is going on in the classroom and how their
child is performing.
- Be honest. Call them at the first sign their child
is having behavioral or learning difficulties in the classroom.
- Stay organized. Remember that when you are talking
to a parent/guardian about their child, they are really only
interested in their child, not the whole class. Parents/guardians
might become impatient if they have to wait for you to dig up
notes on their child under a stack of other papers. Give the
impression that you are interested in their child.