The Friend Series: How to Communicate with Parents
So, this week's blog features Barbara. I was pretty excited for you to meet Barbara because she is actually THE Barbara that I talk about in my grad school videos. This week, she set out a few guidelines that can help you with parent communication. Keep reading so that you can get those tips!
It is your responsibility to open the lines of communication and try to maintain a positive relationships with parents. If you focus on these three tips: listening, acknowledging, and responding with honesty and understanding, you will be up for a good start!
#1: Listen. Sometimes, parents need to voice their concerns or frustrations in order to simply vent. They are not asking for your personal or professional opinion. Be careful of what you say, as well as what your body language communicates backs to them.
#2: Acknowledgement. When you are having conversations with parents, show that you have acknowledged what was said. You can do this by repeating what parents say to you and asking for clarity regarding what was said. In addition, when parents are speaking with you and voicing concerns, refrain from making medical diagnosis or speaking about other students. The focus of parents is their child.
#3: Be honest and understanding. Sometimes we have difficulty having honest conversations with parents, but these conversations must be had. If a child is not performing well, inform parents immediately. When speaking with them, provide parents with evidence to support your and possible solutions. In addition, ask parents for their input as to why their child may not be performing well or acting out, and include parents in the solution process. Remember, you are partners in their child's learning! Finally, keep them informed regarding any progress their child has made.
A few things to remember before you communicate with parents:
Refrain from making promises you cannot or do not intend to keep--you run the risk of causing anger or alienation.
Be mindful of any district or school policies that may be in place regarding parent communication.
Written communication becomes law. Be sure to be cognizant of what you say when communicating to parents via email, text message, etc.
Remember, you are vital in making every parent feel welcomed in their child's educational process! Make sure your communication is transparent and inclusive. Things will not be perfect, but it you can follow these rules of thumb, and begin early in the year establishing positive relationships, it can minimize your stress and, most importantly, ensure everyone has a successful year!
I hope you’ve found this week’s blog helpful! You can always watch the VIDEO for this blog or CONTACT me if you are interested in more tips!
Barbara has 18 years of teaching experience, with 2 years as a Reading Interventionist. She is National Board Certified in Literacy and has Masters degrees is Reading and Teacher Leadership. She has served as a mentor teacher, grade level chairperson, and building literacy liaison.