Parent/Guardian Teacher Communication: Launch Your Classroom! Episode 42

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Parents and guardians are key partners in supporting your students’ academic success, but only if you build and maintain effective communication with them. In this episode of Launch Your Classroom, Kyle and the LYC team show us how to reach out to parents, build teacher-guardian relationships, and enlist their help both at home and in your classroom!

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Although teachers work most directly with their students, they also have a direct connection with parents and guardians because of their shared desire for the students’ success. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to team up with parents and guardians to ensure student learning and growth. The adults at home are an essential part of a student’s life and wellbeing. Your frequent and purposeful communication with parents and guardians can increase academic success by bringing them into the learning process and keeping them informed. These adults are also your best allies when a student is misbehaving or making poor choices. Some parents and guardians, when asked, can even enrich your class content by coming in to present, or help with a classroom activity. In all of these cases, parental involvement leads to greater student investment and success.

Teachers should reach out to parents at the very beginning of the school year as a positive interaction to get parents involved while they are still new and energetic. This positive first contact will also make later corrective calls easier. Then, teachers should contact parents by varying methods, whether email, phone, or school messenger, so they can give frequent reminders without being too insistent. Family lives are complicated and busy, so teachers need to be understanding of parental limits to involvement, provide many options for contact and meetings, and praise parents for all their contributions, big or small.

When you make an informative call home, whether positive or corrective, do the following. Identify yourself as the student’s teacher. Establish a friendly professional tone by mentioning something positive about the child. This should be done even if the reason for the call is corrective. Then, state your reason for reaching out. Close the call by enlisting parent teamwork and asking how you can help.

Make sure to reach out with positive news as often as you can to offset corrective calls. Use other behavior management techniques in the classroom rather than simply calling home to inform or complain. Finally, keep confidential information to yourself and be sure not to share private information with parents or develop an unprofessional tone or connection with adults at home.

1) How can I follow up with my first contact home to enlist parent and guardian help?
2) What occasions can I create during the school year to get parents to come to school or participate virtually in meetings?
3) What kinds of positive comments can I make to parents when I make a corrective phone call?

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