As a result of all our research, group member Suzy compiled a fantastic resource to guide a teacher through communication with family members. The guide includes general suggestions, specific tips for communication, and who else to involve.
- School policy. Check your school’s policy on communicating with parents. Some schools have policies regarding what topics can be discussed over e-mail, phone, or in person.
- Beginning of year. Introduce yourself, in person if possible, in the beginning of the year to open communication lines with parents early. This gives parents a face to your name and vice versa.
- Be positive. Always have something positive to say about the student when initiating communication with a parent.
- Be prepared. Have examples of student work. Prepare your ideas for a plan of action and suggestions for student goals.
- Listen. Some situations are not always what they seem. Listen to students and parents so you are fully informed.
- Confidentiality. Do not discuss other students or compare other students to the student’s parent you are talking with.
Specific Tips for Communication
- Email – used only for less critical issues.
- Phone – used for minor issues.
- In Person – used for parent/teacher conferences and serious issues.
Each of these modes of communication should also be utilized to communicate positive student behavior and achievements as well as negative issues.
In addition to email, phone, and in person, teachers and parents can use blogging and twitter to keep in touch. Teachers and students can update a class blog or twitter account in order to keep parents, families, administrators, etc. in touch with what is going on in the daily life of the classroom.
Who Else to Get Involved
- Some teachers suggest CC’ing other teachers, principal or any other relevant personnel, on e-mails for documentation.
- Invite other appropriate school personnel to parent conferences for students when their assistance could benefit the student.
- When agreements have not been followed up on or there have been no results, refer issue to principal.
- When an issue arises that is beyond your ability as a teacher to respond to appropriately (i.e. suspicions of serious health related issues such as eating disorders, depression, etc.), refer to school social worker or psychologist.
In addition to this communication guide, we found a myriad of useful articles and research regarding communication and involvement of parents within their childs’ education.
- [TAR] MAIN PAGE
- INITIAL THOUGHTS & PLAN OF ACTION
- STUDENT, PARENT, AND TEACHER SURVEYS
- CONCLUSIONS & REFLECTIONS