richardjamesrogers.com is the official blog of Richard James Rogers: high school Science teacher and the award-winning author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management: 45 Secrets That All High School Teachers Need to Know. This blog post is illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
I’ve made the point before that parent’s are our allies, not our enemies. It’s important to foster productive relationships with the parents of our students so that our learners feel fully supported in their education. How exactly do we foster those relationships, though? This week, I’ve invited Kat Sarmiento to share her thoughts on how to keep parents on our side.
Parents and teachers share the same goal: to ensure that students have the most excellent educational experience possible. In a study by the National Committee for Citizens in Education, one of the best approaches to creating a positive learning environment is encouraging parents’ engagement in their children’s school lives.
Teachers who focus on involving parents see a profound change in their classrooms. Parental involvement begins at home, with the parents providing a safe and conducive environment for learning, experiences, support, and a positive outlook about the importance of education.
Parents actively involved in their child’s education provide the home support and knowledge that their children need—not just to accomplish assignments—but also to develop a lifelong love for learning.
Given that the importance of parents’ help in a child’s learning is beyond dispute, how can teachers work effectively with parents to help their students?
#1: Open reliable channels for communication
In a parent-teacher relationship, frequent two-way communication is essential so parents can stay updated on what is happening at school. At the same time, inform teachers about the important things concerning the child.
A common mistake amongst teachers is not communicating enough or only getting in touch when there’s already a problem. It is best not to wait for situations to arise before reaching out. Teachers need to interact frequently and positively with parents to build a relationship before facing any roadblocks. Especially with today’s technology, teachers can do weekly reviews and quickly update parents on what’s going on in the classroom.
It is critical to identify the best communication tools, develop messaging plans early in the year, and maintain consistent communication throughout the year. Maximize video conferencing apps, messaging boards, emails, social media, memos, newsletters, phone calls and find out what works best.
#2: Be collaborative
If communication is frequent, then collaboration will be easier.
A collaborative approach means that parents participate in the school’s decisions and work together to enhance the students’ learning and development.
Parents are well aware of their child’s lifestyle, developmental history, and interests. At the same time, teachers know how they can best guide and help their students perform in school.
Parents and teachers collaboratively sharing knowledge will go a long way to support a child’s growth and academic success. It includes relating what a child learns at school with what they learn at home.
The goal is to create a partnership in which teachers and parents share expertise to provide the best education for the students. Reciprocal respect, sharing of planning, and decision-making responsibilities are the essential components for true partnerships between parents and teachers.
#3: Encourage learning at home
Parents should support after-school learning by talking positively about school and teachers, creating a supportive home environment.
This form of involvement includes parents assisting their children with homework or taking them to a museum. These activities foster a school-oriented family and encourage parents to be involved in the school curriculum.
Activities that encourage learning at home provide parents with information on what children are doing in the classroom and how to help them. Research shows that parental engagement is associated with increased productivity and academic achievement in many ways.
Participating in a child’s education shows that parents values their learning. The more help and guidance a child feels at home, the more effectively they will learn at school.
#4: Build a trusting relationship
In many respects, the first interaction between a teacher and a parent is the most crucial. During this time, a rapport is established, and trust can begin to develop.
Trust is a crucial component of any successful partnership. Teachers must maintain a trusting, private, open, and honest relationship with parents and ensure they always have the students’ best interest at heart. At the same time, parents should be confident in the competency of the teachers who are professionally involved in their children’s education.
#5: Make the curriculum transparent
Part of keeping parents informed is letting them know what their children are learning, how they are processing it, and how it will help their child succeed.
One way to do this is by conducting workshops for parents to inform them of the school curriculum and remind them that they are still their child’s most important teachers.
The bottom line is that education is a critical stage in a child’s growth and development. When parents and teachers collaborate as a team, children learn more effectively. And like any team, parents and teachers have one goal: provide the most incredible learning environment for children to promote their physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being.
Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn’t love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.