Building relationships with your students’ parents lays the foundation for a successful home-school partnership. By interacting with parents and providing feedback on their child’s learning and behaviour, you have a positive impact on their involvement in their child’s learning at home.
Additionally, when a parent is actively involved in their child’s school life, students’ motivation towards school increases and having frequent interaction with a parent helps you as a teacher learn more about your students and their home life.
This may seem somewhat obvious, but when you start teaching a new class make sure that you introduce yourself to their parents via email, letter home or phone call. In order to build a relationship with your parents they need to know who you are, and feel as though they can approach you.
Make yourself available
When introducing yourself to parents, communicate to them that you’re willing to speak with them about any concerns or questions they have in relation to their child’s learning or behaviour in class. Simply providing them with office hours, a phone number or email means you’re approachable and opens up a line of communication between you and them.
Provide regular updates
The key to building a positive relationship with parents is through keeping in frequent contact. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, and it can allow for a level of creativity. For example you can send out a classroom newsletter which students can contribute to, or even set-up a classroom blog which students can upload their work to and include pictures from in-class activities and school trips, so parents can see what their child gets up to.
Communicate all news - good and bad
A phone call home from a teacher usually has negative connotations for both students and parents. However, a call home is quick and easy and doesn’t need to be solely for passing on news of misbehaviour. Instead they should be used to also let parents know when their child has achieved something great or behaved well. It must also be remembered, that when you do need to contact home to inform parents of bad news, to communicate it in a way that doesn’t upset them. Break the news first by informing the parents how well their child usually performs in class and try to work with them to find out a way to overcome the issue at hand. Remember, you don’t always know what’s going on at home and how this may be impacting on the student.