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.
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.