Dealing with parents was one of my least favorite parts of being a teacher. I am an introverted person, so talking to parents was really difficult for me. But I found ways to deal with my fear of talking to parents because it is such an important part of being a good teacher. If you communicate with parents regularly your life will be so much easier. So, I am going to share with you about the best ways I found to communicate with parents. Plus, there’s a freebie!
DON'T feel like you always have to call parents.
DO use the form of communication that you are most comfortable with AND that is most appropriate for the situation. I hate talking on the phone, so I would send emails and notes as often as a could. This was a comfortable way for me to talk to parents and still maintain regular communication.
However, some of the time calling is the most appropriate way to address a situation. If something serious happened at school, like a student hurting another student, I would call home. Things can be misunderstood in writing, so if you would be able to communicate more clearly by speaking to a parent, do so. You don't want to make the situation worse by creating a misunderstanding.
DON’T contact parents only when there is a problem.
DO contact parents about their students’ positive and negative behavior. Letting parents know about what their child does well, in addition to any negative behavior will make them so much more receptive and willing to help you solve any problems their student may have. If possible, try to make your first contact with parents be about something positive their student did. Set a goal for how many parents you will contact each day during the first few weeks of school. Then, look for something good that each student does and tell their parents about it. Parents are used to being told when their child does something bad at school, so you will surprise them by telling them about something positive.
DON’T wait for parents to ask you about what is happening in class.
DO send out a regular newsletter about what is happening in your class. I sent out a monthly newsletter to inform parents of important events and news, such as picture day, class parties, or spirit week. So, set a date each month or week and make sure to send a newsletter home. And, be sure to inform parents at the beginning of the year of when to expect the newsletter. This will save you so much time because you will receive less emails and phone calls asking about what is going on.
DON’T rely on yourself to keep mental notes about each time you contact a parent.
DO keep track of every time you communicate with a parent. Keep a log of when you contact a parent, how you contacted them, what you contacted them about, and anything they said in response. Also, keep track of how often you contact parents about positive and negative behavior. This will help you to see if you need to look for more positive behavior in a certain student.
Here are FREE parent communication forms that you can use to help you stay organized. There are three forms (1 parent communication form in a whole class format, 1 parent communication form in an individual student format, and 1 positive/negative contact tracker).
By putting in a little bit of effort to reach out to parents, your classroom will run smoother, you will be able to better connect with your students, and your life will be just a little less stressful.
Summer has flown by! I can't believe it is already time to head back to school. It's crunch time and I know a lot of you are rushing to get everything prepared for your new class. There is just so much to think about: setting up your classroom, creating management plans, prepping for meet the teacher and back to school night, and on top of all of that, planning lessons.
I also have a pack with morning work for every week of the year!!! The pack has writing prompts for both lower and upper grades and helps your students to keep a journal about their weekends. Each Monday (or the first day of the school week if there was a holiday), I had my students write in their journal about their weekend. Then, we would have a morning meeting and each student got to share one thing they wrote. The kids LOVED sharing what they did and it helped to build my class' community.
Starting this routine from the very beginning helps to build your classroom community and your students' writing skills!
And to further alleviate the stress on you and on your wallet, here are TWO freebies that you can use in your class!
Freebie #1: Hall Passes
Hall passes are a great way to keep track of your students, and there are so many ways you can use them. Here are just a few ideas:
Freebie #2: Fast Finisher Posters
If you're tired of being asked "What do I do now?" these posters are perfect for your class. You can hang all of them up on your wall for your students to refer to, or your can use a magnet to hang the ones you want your students to be doing up on the whiteboard, so they are easy to change when you need.
I hope that these will help you to spend less time setting up your class, so you have more time to mentally prep yourself for the coming school year!
Hi! I'm Mackenzie. Teacher, wife, and Washingtonian. Check out my blog to get ideas and products for your class.
© Mackenzie Allen 2016.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.