What defines the successful relationships we as teachers have with parents? How do we cultivate a positive, trusting, working relationship at the start of the school year? We know when parents feel a friendly and comfortable relationship with their child’s teacher, the overall relationship between teacher, parent and child excels. Those friendly, comfortable, trusting relationships come with explicit planning and effort on the part of the teacher. The sooner positive relationships develop between teachers and parents the better.
Teachers give parents the basic information at the beginning of the school year – contact information, projected classroom activities during the year, and student’s expectations for schoolwork and behavior for both classroom and school building or district. But some of the most important information teachers give parents isn’t necessarily written down. This needed information may be given in the form of an encouraging smile or empathetic look. Letting parents know that we are their partner in the education of their precious child helps parents learn to trust us faster. We can also teach parents how to work with their children at home. I’ve found many who had difficulty in school themselves had no idea how to help their child be successful. This idea of showing parents how to reinforce school learning with practice at home really only takes a few minutes, but it is amazing the results it provides – especially in self-esteem of both parent and child. There are so many more ideas teachers are using to help develop a successful relationship with students’ families. The key is to find what each family and student need and try to the best of our ability to meet those needs. This is an exciting time of year! We are starting fresh with new faces, with new hope, looking to work our magic.