Charlotte Moms’ Tips for Parent Teacher Communication

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Keeping up good communication between parents and teachers is key for children to get the best they can out of a class. Here are ideas to help this happen.

You can talk to your child about how things are going in class, but you may not be getting the whole picture. That’s why it is important to build a good relationship with the teacher. Here are some tips to help keep positive communication with your child’s educator.

Use Student Planners

Nowadays there are a number of ways to keep in touch with the teacher. Many schools give agendas or day planners to students, and they are expected to bring them home from school every day. Teachers can write a note in the agenda about important events, a child’s behavior, and progress in class. Parents can also do the same, writing their concerns or information that they feel the teacher should know about their child.

Talk to Teacher About Concerns

If a parent notices a trend, like repeated homework assignments not handed in or notes from the teacher that the child has been misbehaving in class, then it may be time to talk to the teacher about how to be proactive about the situation. It is better to talk to the teacher sooner, when concerns come up, rather than later, so they can be dealt with right away before they snowball. The more behind a child gets in his work, the more daunting the task may seem for him to get caught up.

Teachers are usually open to phone calls, although they may not be able to talk to you until lunch or after school. Many often will be open to offer their email to send information back and forth and some even have their own websites regarding homework assigned and ways to improve marks in class.

Going to Parent-Teacher Meetings

Any time there is a parent-teacher conference, do your best to go. Face-to-face interaction is the best way to create a connection and get an understanding of what life is like for your child in the class. If you have a concern and there are no such meetings set any time soon or you can’t make that specific parent-teacher date, then ask the teacher about setting a time for you to meet to discuss your child’s progress in class.

Volunteer in the Classroom

If it is possible, volunteer in the teacher’s classroom to help out. If parents can do this on a regular basis, that’s great, but even just offering to come in once is a good idea. It will give parents a chance to see what is going on in the classroom; see the teacher’s style of teaching and how their child acts in class.

Parent-teacher communication is vital to keep tabs on how a child is doing in class. Parents can keep in touch with the teacher through the student planner, phone, and email. If a parent has any concerns, they should set up a meeting to talk with the teacher and make sure to go to all parent-teacher meetings. Another great way to connect with the teacher and see how your child does in class is to volunteer in the classroom.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences help parents find out about student progress and are opportunities to talk with teachers about how you can work together.

Learning how your child is doing at school is important and so is building a good relationship with the teacher. Going to parent-teacher conferences is an important part of this process.

Make Time for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Do your best to attend when there is a parent-teacher night at school. If you can’t make it on the allotted day, see if the teacher can reschedule a time that works for you. If a parent works during the hours that the teacher does, see if a lunch hour date could be arranged or if a set time could be arranged to hold a ‘meeting’ over the phone. If a parent has a number of kids and/or schools to attend and limited time to see them all, divide and conquer. Bring in the other parent(s), guardian, relative, or friend to help out. Discuss and supply them with a list of questions and concerns. Split the teachers to see between you, and then compare notes at the end of the night.

  • Be on time – You only have a short time with your child’s teacher. Be respectful of that time.
  • Bring questions – What would you like to know about the classroom, academic, or social happenings? What requests do you have for the teacher?
  • Surface concerns – What concerns do you have about your child’s performance? Bring work samples and be prepared with examples.
  • Ask for examples – If the teacher doesn’t get specific, ask for examples of what your child does well and needs to work on.
  • Participate – Parent involvement is one of the highest predictors of student success. Ask how you can help your child better meet the learning objectives. Explore opportunities for volunteering in the classroom or at school.
  • Say thank you – Sincerely thank the teacher for his or her time and hard work with your child.

By following these guidelines, your parent-teacher conference can make the difference between an average year for your child, and the best year ever!

Bring a List of Parent-Teacher Conference Questions

Especially if there are multiple teachers to see, make a ‘cheat sheet’ with questions and concerns on it to ask the teacher. You don’t know when you will see them next, so it’s good to get it all out when you have the opportunity. Talk to kids ahead of the meeting about their relationship with the teacher and classmates. Also, talk to them about any questions and concerns they have about the subjects they are learning. Look over the work the child has done so far and ask them how they feel they are doing in the class. Then compare this information with the teacher in question to see if everyone is on the same page when it comes to the child’s progress.

  • Be prepared – Compile several examples of student work, standardized evaluations, and report cards. Be sure to address any social issues, if applicable.
  • Set expectations – Let parents know about conference timing and what will be covered.
  • Celebrate the good stuff – Be specific about how the student is doing well. What learning objectives is the student achieving or exceeding?
  • Share improvements – Be specific about how the child can improve his or her performance. What learning objectives need more attention? Are there any behavioral issues that need to be addressed?
  • Have a plan – What’s the plan for helping this student improve his or her academic or behavioral performance?
  • Ask questions – What’s important from the parent’s perspective?
  • Seek involvement – What can you ask the parents to do to prepare in their child’s learning?
  • Say thank you – Sincerely thank parents for their time and support.

Student Progress

We all love to hear that our kids are doing great in class, but it’s not always the case. Talk to the teacher about what is going on in the classroom and provide your perspective and your child’s. Ask the teacher what her ideas for improving the situation are and parents can offer their ideas as well. Things may be going on in kids’ lives outside of class that can impact their schoolwork and attitude, and this is a good time to talk about it with the teacher.

Parents might also have tips for how to get the best out of their children that they can offer to the teacher. Parents can also ask teachers what extra work or support they can offer at home to help a child improve in class. It’s also a good idea to set a time and date to check in again to find out how things are going for your child since this meeting.

Learn About Teacher

The first parent-teacher conference is a great opportunity to set a positive and “lets-work-together” tone with the teacher. Part of this is finding out how the teacher envisions her class. Ask her about how she sets up her classroom, her philosophy about teaching, and how she sees the year going. How does she deal with kids that are falling behind and how and when does she usually communicate this? What are her expectations of students in and out of the class? Ask her about what curriculum will be covered and big projects or field trips coming up that parents can be ready for and help out with at home or at the school.

Parent-teacher conferences are important for parents to go to because you can find out how your child is doing in the class and learn more about the teacher. Do your best to make at least the first parent-teacher conference, bring a list of questions and concerns, find out about your child’s progress and discuss ways to work together to improve their performance in class. Also, use this time to form a positive bond with the teacher and arrange a time to meet or talk again if needed.

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