Reaching a Communication Balance – Best practices for Parent-Teacher Communication

By Carissa Rogers and VolunteerSpot.com

What do parents and teachers have in common?

We want what’s best for our kids…and we’re busy! Parents and teachers don’t get to spend much time together,  plus the teacher is out numbered, easily having 50-60 class parents!

Building a strong parent-teacher relationship can be challenging. However, the closer the connection between teachers and parents, the better our kids are going to perform. These communication best practices help parents and teachers strike a balance and work together for a great year!

A Parent’s Wish List for Teachers:

  • Please tell me how you want to be reached
    How do you prefer to be contacted? (Eg. email, phone, leave a message with the office)  When is the best time to reach you? How often to do you check your messages and when can I likely expect a response from you? (If it’s within three days, that’s okay – really, as long as I know!) When are you free for meetings? (During lunch, right before or after school?)
  • Please, ask for help when you need it!
    Most parents love to help, especially when we know specifically what you need.  Setting up a simple, free online class volunteer calendar at VolunteerSpot.com is a great way to get more parents involved – we can signup 24/7 from our computers or smartphones and pick a spot that fits our busy schedules!We don’t want you to spend your own money on school supplies! Please (ask a parent to) set up a wish-list signup sheet on VolunteerSpot with specific supplies you need in the classroom.  Parents have the opportunity to click and choose an item to send in.
  • Please set clear expectations
    (and by all means, tell me the truth.  I will understand!)
    If you rarely update your classroom webpage, be honest and don’t tell me you add information weekly.  If homework should take an hour or a special project is coming up, tell me so I can arrange family time accordingly.
  • Please guide me in social media graces
    What’s your personal preference about connecting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?  We understand if you prefer not to be our ‘friend’ in cyberspace.  Is there a classroom Facebook group or other place for class parents to connect online?
  • Please tell me the truth about my child and be timely
    You see my child all day long, if you have praise or concerns, I want to hear it.  Please don’t sugar coat or wait for a scheduled conference session several weeks away.

A Teacher’s Wish List for Parents

  • Please RESPECT my time
    Keep emails brief – two to three sentences.  If you need to write more, please request a phone or face-to-face conference.
  • Please read ALL my email, webpage postings and letters
    I send notes and information to keep you up to date about what’s happening in the classroom and with your child.
  • Feedback is always welcome!
    I’d love to hear what your kids are thinking, what’s exciting to them about my class {and what they don’t like}. Please feel free to send a note now and then.
  • Please give me the benefit of the doubt
    If you have an issue with something happening in my classroom, please talk to me directly about your concerns before going over my head.
  • Be honest and open with me
    Are you concerned about a possible learning challenge?  Is there is a problem at home (i.e. sickness, divorce)?  It helps me to know what might be affecting your child’s mood at school.
  • Get Involved!
    If you really want to get to know me and what’s going on in the classroom, please volunteer!  I appreciate all kinds of help – from weekly ‘regular’ volunteers at math and reading stations, to one-time helpers at parties and field trips. I welcome help from home too, updating the website and prepping supplies. If you enjoy organizing people and events, please offer to be the Room Mom!

About the author: Carissa Rogers is a busy mom of 3 and blogs at GoodNCrazy.com and VolunteerSpot. When she’s not playing photographer, leading the PTO, or chasing kids to and fro she’s connecting, consulting, freelancing and lots of other -ings …a mom of all trades.

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Comments (2)

  • Sydnie Kleinhenz Reply

    I appreciated this informative post. It was exciting to learn about Volunteer Spot. That might be useful to me in the future. The other tips were right on target with my personal experiences and have been great reminders to me as I prepare for parent/teacher conferences in a couple of weeks. Thanks.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm
  • Studying Education Reply

    Great post! Been reading a lot about a parent’s role in education. Thanks for the info here!

    June 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

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