The relationship between a teacher and students’ parents is an essential one—in fact, it is a crucial key factor in students’ successes as well.
But how can you develop and strengthen a great relationship with parents as a teacher?
Parent involvement in student learning helps them enrich their education but also helps keep parents connected to their children during the formative years. After all, they’re their children’s first teachers.
Today we will list down ways to build parent-teacher partnerships that you can implement in your school, community, or classroom.
Why parent-teacher partnership is important
The parent-teacher relationship is one that can be made or broken. Parents need to have a good relationship with their child’s teacher because it can help them better understand their child, and it also helps teachers know how to best approach each student.
If parents and teachers are in sync, they can work together to support each other. Both sides will feel empowered to do their jobs well when there’s a good understanding of what the teacher is looking for in their students and what the parents need from their child’s education.
It also helps when both sides know what’s expected of them, which allows them to feel more confident about meeting those expectations.
A solid parent-teacher partnership can also help students succeed academically by encouraging healthy relationships between teachers and students. When students have confidence in themselves as learners, they are more likely to try harder at school and do better academically.
9 Ways to Build Parent Teacher Partnerships
Know what their priority is as a parent
As a teacher looking to partner up with your student’s parents, it’s vital for you to talk to parents, ideally at the start of the school year, and try to establish their goals for their child.
Try to know what their priorities are for their children’s education. Not all families have the same ideal goal for their children. Some parents may express concern over their child’s behavior while some on their child’s academic performance.
By knowing this information that you can gather through conversation in phone calls, events at school, or conferences, you’ll be able to adequately address and target those concerns and use them to your advantage, especially when planning future lessons and interactions with students.
You should also take into consideration any ideas that parents might express on how school can be improved or how they can get more involved in the education of their children.
Keep communication open as a two-way street
As a teacher, you are in a unique position to build a positive school environment, but we all know that no man is an island, and you can’t do it alone (we all know how it takes a village to keep a classroom)!
As a matter of fact, your student’s parents may be your first line of defense against any potential problems that could arise.
Letting parents know that your line of communication is constantly open will allow you to keep them informed and involved in their child’s education.
As an added bonus, an open line of communication will also help ensure that any concerns about disciplinary issues of your students will be addressed quickly and effectively.
Also, talk to them about their child! Ask them about their strengths, weaknesses, and how they feel about the school. If you have a student struggling with a subject, ask their parent if they could help tutor.
Doing this will strengthen the bond between home and school, and you’ll be able to give your students a chance to succeed in areas in class where they are struggling.
Highlight good news
A teacher’s stress can always go through the roof, and when you’re stressed, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives.
You see them every day, and they’re usually hard to ignore. But we forget that kids are people, too—they have feelings, thoughts, and dreams like everyone else.
So, start with positive praise the next time you meet with a parent or call to discuss a concern. Find something good about the kid, and tell the parent about it—this will help put them at ease and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say next.
You can also give parents a surprise call, as most parents are not accustomed to teachers calling out of the blue to hear about great things their child is currently doing at school!
Just put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if you received a call from your child’s teacher and heard that your son or daughter is doing well in school. For sure, you’ll be proud as a parent too!
School-home communication is a vital part of the learning process. When teachers and parents are able to connect and share the good news, it can help improve relationships between home and school.
Research also shows that positive telephone contact between teachers and parents is more effective than any other form of communication in creating these positive relationships.
So if you have good news that will boost your collaboration with your student’s parents, why wait for the next conference?
Please pick up the phone and start strengthening your partnership with them!
Refrain from using jargon
You might think that the best way to communicate with parents is to use the same language you use with other teachers, and I know that most teachers want to sound professional—but you’ll be surprised to see that it’s not always the case.
If you’re going to communicate with families, it’s important to remember that you can create distance by using unfamiliar educational terms.
If you are to use a lot of jargon, it’s easy to make the parents feel like they don’t know what’s going on in their child’s education. To diminish this effect, always be aware of how much jargon you’re using, and try your best to keep it to a minimum.
If there is a technical term or phrase that is necessary for you to use during your conversation with a parent, try to convert it to a more colloquial language in your message—or if you’re speaking face-to-face, try to translate it to a more simple and plain way so that everyone understands what it means.
You might think this is a small detail, but keeping things simple can make a big difference in helping families feel included in their child’s education.
Keep an open mind
Keep in mind that there’s no “right” way to parent a child. Each family has a different and unique set of circumstances, so most likely, most parents have their own opinions when it comes to best practices in bringing up their child personally and academically.
This can be a bit tricky for teachers to navigate, especially when trying to create a partnership with parents, but don’t let it be an obstacle! There are many ways for you to find common ground.
One best way is by listening with an open mind rather than a closed one. If you approach every chance to connect as an opportunity to build bridges with parents, then you’ll be able to find solutions together more efficiently.
Involve parents in the daily life of their child in school
A school is a place where students will spend most of their time. It’s also a place where they will learn and grow as persons who will, in the future, contribute to society.
That is why it’s vital to ensure that students gain the best experience possible while in school.
And this only goes to show the importance of parents being an active participants in their education, making it crucial for teachers to develop a strong partnership with them.
Another way teachers can build a strong partnership with parents is by involving them in their child’s daily life in school.
They should be aware of the school’s policies and procedures. This will help them understand how the school or the classroom operates and how their child will be disciplined for specific actions.
They should also be well aware of their child’s schedule so that they’ll be able to provide transportation when needed and make sure that their child arrives early or on time in school.
Suppose that there will be extracurricular activities involved in school. In that case, they should also be made aware because parents being involved in their child’s school activities will foster positive interaction between both parties while encouraging teamwork among peers!
You can also encourage classroom visits as this is a great way to connect with parents since they’re also getting a chance to get to know you and will also get a glimpse of their child’s day-to-day routine.
Classroom visits will also give you a chance to discuss something specific that needs addressing at home, such as homework or behavior issues; discuss it with parents during their visit so that they know what particular issues need work from here on out.
Share and set clear expectations
One of the most important things you should remember when setting expectations is that they should be transparent, realistic, and fair for both parties.
You and your student’s parents must be in the same boat about what needs to happen for their child to succeed.
For instance, if there are concerns about homework completion or test score results, it can be beneficial to discuss them before the school year begins, so you understand each other’s needs and concerns.
Try to share your plans for the year and make sure that parents clearly understand how they can help their child at home.
As much as possible, be specific about what you expect from them. it can be something as simple as
- How often they’ll communicate with you or another teacher during the school year
- Whether or not they will volunteer in class (and if so, how much time they’ll dedicate to it)
- what kind of feedback they would like to receive before conferences.
Send out newsletter
Sending out monthly or weekly newsletters is a great way to keep parents updated on the current events within your classroom.
Most newsletters come in all shapes and sizes, but they usually have the same essential components, such as the following:
- The cover page containing your class name, grade level, and title of the newsletter
- The editorial page is a space that will allow you to share some news or ask questions about upcoming events
- A calendar section that will tell parents when you expect them to be at school for things like back-to-back school nights or open house
- And lastly, articles from students (if possible) or class activities like field trips or birthday parties that have recently happened.
Take advantage of social media platforms
Social media is not only a great way to communicate with your students, but it can also be used as a tool for sharing information and asking questions to parents.
The great thing about it is that it’s accessible anytime, anywhere, which means you won’t have to wait until you see parents in person to get their feedback on something or ask them about something that’s been on your mind concerning their child or the classroom as a whole
However, please bear in mind that using social media as your primary means of communication with parents can cause some issues down the road, as parents might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the notifications they get from you or the school.
And note that you may only reach some of your students’ families, given that some may have opted out of receiving updates from school accounts or don’t follow them.
Try to be lenient with your use of social media as your means of communication with parents; if used wisely, it can be an essential tool for building your partnership with your student’s parents.
Ask for feedback on your teaching practices
Asking for feedback and input from parents on your teaching practices paves the way for parents to feel like you want them to be involved in their child’s educational progress.
Moreover, it is also a great way to get a conversation started, and you’ll also get the chance to get input on your teaching practices and techniques so you can improve them.
Try not to sound defensive and critical; after all, you are the one requesting feedback, and try to think of it as a tool you can use to be the better teacher you want to be!
There are no hard and fast rules for building a successful partnership with your student’s parents. Every set of students and their family is unique, so your best bet is to be flexible and open-minded.
It’s also an opportunity to get to know your school community better and understand each other’s needs. It’s not just about keeping parents informed. It’s about teaming together to make the dream work—fostering happier and more successful children that will lead our tomorrow!