Are you a teacher who wants to see your students succeed? Of course you are!
But did you know that collaboration with parents is crucial to achieving this goal? You see, parents are a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to the success of your students.
With that said, communicating and collaborating with parents can be challenging at times.
Here’s the good news – we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential tips to help you bridge that gap and forge stronger relationships with parents.
So let’s get started on this journey to connect your classroom – and make a real difference for your students!
Building strong relationships and communicating effectively with parents can have a significant impact on our students’ success.
Below, we’ll share some essential tips for collaborating effectively with parents.
You should always start by acknowledging the importance of establishing a positive relationship with parents.
Parents are the primary caregivers for their children and play a critical role in their education. When we work together, our students are more likely to succeed. Building a relationship is the first step in this collaboration.
To build trust and rapport with parents, you need to be approachable and responsive to their concerns. Listen carefully to their questions and concerns and provide thoughtful and respectful answers. Don’t dismiss their worries or concerns and reassure them that you’re always available to discuss their child’s progress.
Clear and effective communication is essential in any relationship, and this is no different in the parent-teacher relationship. Communicating with parents in a timely and efficient manner is crucial, as it keeps them informed about their child’s progress.
One of the best ways to improve communication is to use a communication log. Take the time to write down your concerns, progress, updates, and suggestions. Then, share this with the parents regularly. This way, they can easily keep track of their child’s educational progress.
Regular meetings are another great way to improve communication. An open and honest dialogue between teachers and parents can help build trust and lead to successful outcomes.
One of the most critical aspects of collaborating with parents is sharing information about their child’s progress. It is absolutely essential to keep parents informed of any changes in the child’s behavior, academic performance, and social skills.
There are several ways to share information with parents in a meaningful and helpful way.
One way is to use progress reports. Progress reports provide a comprehensive overview of the child’s progress in different areas, including academic, social, and behavioral. By sharing progress reports, parents can see their child’s progress over time and better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Another way to share information is to schedule parent-teacher conferences regularly.
Parent-teacher conferences are an opportunity to discuss the child’s progress, any concerns, and possible solutions. These conferences can be in-person, over the phone, or via video conferencing, depending on the parents’ availability.
Inclusivity is key in education – and all families should feel welcome and included in the school community. Unfortunately, there are still many barriers that prevent families from being included, such as lack of accessibility, lack of understanding, and stigma.
But as teachers, we can take steps to create an inclusive environment that benefits all students and their families.
To create an inclusive environment, celebrate diversity and involve all families in school events. Celebrating diversity can mean acknowledging and celebrating different cultures, abilities, and backgrounds. It can also mean incorporating diverse books and resources into the curriculum.
Involving all families in school events can also foster inclusivity. This can mean providing accommodations, such as interpreters, for families who speak different languages or have different communication needs. It can also mean providing transportation for families who may not have access to transportation.
Take some time to think about whether the events and activities you’re asking families to participate in are truly inclusive. Are all language needs being met? What about accommodations for families who might have limited financial means? Work through every potential sticking point to make sure all needs are addressed.
Using technology to enhance collaboration with parents can be incredibly beneficial. Advances in technology have made it easier than ever before to connect with parents and keep them informed about their child’s progress.
Some of the benefits of using technology to collaborate with parents include:
Just remember that using technology isn’t always accessible or easy for every parent. Here are some tips:
Making accommodations for parents can be a game-changer when it comes to improving communication and collaboration. We all know about accommodations for our students, but it’s smart to also make them for their parents.
You don’t need to overthink this, either – accommodations simply refer to any effort that is made to ensure that every family has equal access to school-related activities and communication. Some of the essential tips to make accommodations that meet the needs of all families include:
One of the most important things you can do when working with parents is to collaborate on goals. When parents feel like they are actively involved in their child’s education, it can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. Talk to parents about the benefits of collaborating on goals, such as developing individualized education plans (IEPs) that are tailored to their child’s needs and abilities.
To work collaboratively with parents, make sure to involve them in the goal-setting process. Ask them what their child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what they hope to achieve in terms of academic progress and behavioral goals. Communication is key here – make sure everyone involved is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Another important aspect of working with parents is providing them with resources that can help support their child’s education. This might include educational materials such as books and online resources, or community support organizations that provide assistance with things like tutoring, counseling, or financial resources.
To identify helpful resources for families, consider asking parents about their needs and preferences. What kind of support do they think would be most beneficial for their child? Once you have a sense of what they need, you can start researching different resources and making recommendations.
In order to make sure everyone is working towards the same goals, it’s important to set clear expectations for the student’s education. This might include things like academic benchmarks, behavioral goals, or expectations for attendance and participation in class.
To set clear goals and expectations, make sure to collaborate with parents in the process. Ask them what their expectations are for their child’s education, and be open and transparent about your own expectations as well.
Make sure everyone is on the same page, and that there is a shared understanding of what the student needs to achieve in order to be successful.
Finally, express gratitude and appreciation, and celebrate every win! Remember to take a moment to express appreciation to parents for their involvement in their child’s education.
Celebrate every win with them, no matter how big or small – this will motivate them to continue to strive for success.
By implementing these tips, you can create a collaborative partnership that will truly make a difference in the lives of your students. Together, we can help our students succeed – and thrive.
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.
Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.