The vast majority of parents want their children to be educated, to enjoy school and to create solid relationships in the school setting. Most teachers have the very same positive goals for their students. Parent-teacher communication is vital.
However, all too often, there can be misunderstandings or conflicts between parents and schools that could be avoided with better and more frequent communication.
Communication affects parental attitudes, teacher morale and student performance directly. In what ways will communication help? Let’s discuss.
Learn How to Support Your Child
Do you know what your child is learning each day, what subjects he or she struggles with and how he is doing socially? If you don’t, your kid’s teacher does. And, as a former educator, I assure you that they would LOVE to talk to you about it. Good teachers are thrilled when parents ask questions and get involved.
Talking to the school will likely make you more confident about your child’s education as you develop a deeper appreciation and respect for the critical role that the teacher and school play in your child’s life.
Ask the teacher:
- What are my kid’s favorite classroom learning activities?
- What are some of my child’s accomplishments?
- How can I help at home?
- What does my child need to do be successful in your classroom?
- Does my child engage with your subject matter?
Your Kid Will Benefit
Substantial evidence shows that parent involvement benefits students. It increases the likelihood of academic achievement. Children will likely experience:
- improved behavior
- increased motivation for learning
- a better relationship with their teachers
- better attendance,
- a positive attitude about homework
- a positive attitude toward school in general
It’s not rocket science: If you are invested in your kids’ learning, then they are more likely to be, as well. They will see that you value education and will develop those same values.
Teachers Want and Need Your Support
Teachers have so many responsibilities, and when parents do not communicate or get involved, they are burdened with even more work. Parental involvement frees educators up to focus more on teaching the children. Plus, they can get a much better grasp on the lives, homes and family values of the kids in their class.
It is all circular in that moms and dads who are involved with the school tend to have a positive view of teachers. This improves kids’ attitude toward educators. That results in better instructor morale.
It motivates everyone!
Good two-way communication among families and schools is essential and, no surprise here, research shows that the more parents and teachers share relevant information, the better able they are to help the child achieve academic goals.
Don’t wait for teachers to reach out. Also, if you get invitations to the school – go. Go whenever you can. You will enjoy the experience, and your child and their teacher will both appreciate your presence.
There are ways to communicate well, and there are also ways to communicate badly. Bad communication may result in misunderstandings, conflict and – worst of all – an unmotivated student. Here are some strategies for communicating the right way:
- Respect Educators
Treat the relationship the way you would any important one. Relationships are not always easy or perfect, but good communication and a problem-solving partnership will allow you to collaborate on thinking of ways to help your child. If your child is struggling in math, do not look at their math teacher as the enemy or go into a meeting with an attitude of disrespect. Look at the math teacher as a partner in getting your kid back on track and address the educator with deference.
- Don’t Stifle the Student-Teacher Relationship
Developing a relationship with their teacher will likely be one of the first relationships that your child will develop with an adult outside of the family. For young elementary-aged kids, the teacher-child relationship is one of love and caring. Allow them the space to create a special bond.
- Don’t brag
You know your child is brilliant, charming, and amazing. That’s a given. But, their teacher does not want to listen to you boast. In so doing, you may inadvertently be sending the message that you do not think that the teacher is good enough.
For example, saying “Susie loves math time in your room!” sends a much different message than “Susie is so good at math, she hardly even needs instruction.”
Also, you do not have to sell your kid to an educator. Just trust that the teacher will learn how awesome your kid is in their own time.
Positive parent-school communication strategies are of benefit to students, teachers, administrators, and parents. The better communication that guardians have with the school, the less stressed everyone will be. It will allow you to all work together – as a team – toward the education of your child. And you know what they say: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”