Developing positive parent teacher relationships is essential to the success of a new school year. You can develop a positive relationship with your child’s teacher from day one through communication and being involved.
How to Develop Positive Parent Teacher Relationships
The most effective way to develop positive parent teacher relationships is with regular communication. Open house is a great time to find out teacher expectations for parents and children. You can also learn how your child’s teacher plans to keep you in the loop about how your child is progressing, what they are learning in class, and important class/school events.
If You are a Parent…
Write down any questions you may have before meeting your child’s teacher for the first time. These can include:
- How can I help my child at home?
- When is the best time to reach you if I have a question/concern?
- Which form of communication is best? Email? Phone call? Meeting?
- How will I know if my child is doing well? How will you communicate concerns about their progress?
These questions are especially important if you have a child entering school for the first time. Having a clear understanding of what is happening in the classroom and what is expected of your child will put your mind at ease, because we all know getting detailed information from our children can be tough! And even if you are a seasoned school mom, these questions will be important for you too, as every teacher has different ways of doing things.
Communicating With Your Child
If you have trouble getting your child to talk about their day like I sometimes do, here are some questions from Huffington Post you can ask besides ‘How was your day?’ to get them talking:
- What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
- Where is the coolest place at the school?
- Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
- If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
- How did you help somebody today?
- How did somebody help you today?
- Tell me one thing that you learned today.
- When were you the happiest today?
Read the full article for more questions you can ask to learn about your child’s day.
Want more tips for positive parent/child communication? Check out my post: Developing Positive Parent and Child Relationships
If You are a Teacher…
As both an experienced teacher and parent of a school aged child, I know that parents like to hear from teachers regularly. They want to know what’s happening in the classroom and how their child is doing. They also want to know how they can help their child at home. It is important to communicate both positive observations and areas that need improvement.
One effective tool for communicating with parents is a weekly newsletter. My parents knew they would receive a newsletter each Monday. I always included the story we were reading in class, the math, language arts, and other content we would be covering, homework, important classroom and school news. This helps parents feel connected to what is happening. We cannot depend on students to tell their parents everything we are doing!
Whenever we started a new topic, I always sent a school-home connection to parents. This provided a more detailed look into exactly what I expected their child to learn as well as a list of activities they could do at home to support their child’s learning. If a child was struggling with a particular concept, I gave individualized feedback of specific skills their child needed extra practice with and additional activities to they could complete at home. Regular conferences/phone calls are also super important for struggling/misbehaving students! Be sure to always include something positive about their child in the conversation.
Another important part of developing positive parent teacher relationships is by being involved at school. Try to schedule regular times to volunteer in your child’s classroom, library, lunch room, or other needed areas. You can familiarize yourself with the school and your child’s environment while showing your child that you are invested in their learning. You can also be involved by attending special events at the school with your child. These events are planned to bring families together for meaningful learning experiences and to build community within the school.
Creating a positive relationship with your child’s teacher is key to your child’s success in the classroom. So as this new school year begins, plan now to communicate with your child’s teacher regularly and set aside time to volunteer. Your young children especially will love that you are involved, and teachers will love your help too!
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