Sunday, June 11, 2006

Building parent relationships

Strategies from a teacher

Relationship building is important in every profession, and it is certainly key to being a good educator. Kids succeed when the school and home work as partners.

If you've never been a classroom instructor, then you'll never truly understand the balancing act teachers face each day - dealing with "boisterous" students, cranky parents, staying on schedule when it comes to curriculum, grading reams of papers and completing an abundance of other paperwork.

Building and maintaining relationships with parents takes time. So how can busy teachers find the time, and why should they do it? Elementaryhistoryteacher, publisher of History Is Elementary, offers some ideas. Here is an excerpt from a recent post.

Relationship building….that’s my mission. I think I already have some good pieces of the puzzle in place, however, I need to get over myself and call, call again, and call some more. Once I have my rosters in a few short weeks I need to call and introduce myself. I need to prepare some questions during my time off that well help me keep the conversation focused on their child and his or her needs as a student. What do you like best about your child? What is your child’s strengths? What discipline strategies do you follow at home? Who is at home when your child arrives? Who will be helping your child with his/her homework? I need to note previous low grades, previous low test scores, previous excessive absences or tardies and address them in a positive manner. I need to make myself available in this introductory phone call for questions the parent may have. Phone calls should continue through the first nine weeks and on into the year. Phone calls should not be made just when there is a problem. I believe that I could take my rosters and divide up the phone calling so that it would manageable for my busy schedule throughout each nine week period.

Another strategy to continue building and maintain good relationships all year long would be to continue with my weekly or bi-weekly newsletter. This could be sent home as before, but this time I could employ the students to help of papers and they might be more willing to get it home when they should. I also would like to send the newsletter by email when possible and make it available on line. I want to develop a classroom blog where parents could see daily updates on what we are doing the classroom as well as pictures that could be uploaded for viewing. Student work could be posted and my writers could have their works published.

I believe that I have here a good framework for cementing good relationships with parents. The key is communication. I am sure that I will still have a few parents balk at my overtures for a good relationship, but many more can be brought on board by a simple phone call. I am the teacher, and there really is no excuse not to pursue relationships.

Hopefully, parents will show appreciation for our blogging friend's efforts. To read Elementaryhistoryteacher's entire post, click here.

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elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I'm honored! Thank you for republishing portions of my post and a giving a link. Pardon me, but I'm busy doing the happy dance!

DCS said...

Elementaryhistoryteacher: That's my favorite dance! Thanks for your amazing way for integrating candor with great classroom tips.