It is crucial to have a positive parent-teacher relationship with our students and staff when becoming a teacher. They are not the only ones we have these relationships with. When I stepped foot into the classroom for the first time, I quickly realized how important it was to keep a positive teacher parent relationship with the parents and guardians of the students. 

Getting in Contact with Parents Before the Start of the School Year 

Calling or emailing the parents or guardians of my students is something that I ALWAYS did before the beginning of each school year. I would email or call my parents, introducing myself as their child’s teacher for the upcoming year. I would tell them what grade or content areas I taught, go over a few expectations for the year, and give a personal greeting about how excited I was to have their child in class. 

The majority of my parents were happy that I did this. I would always receive several comments about how they had never had a teacher do something like that before. When contacting parents for the first time, it’s always great to include some of the following things: 

  • Personal greeting and introduction of yourself
  • What grade/subject area do you teach 
  • Expectations for the year 
  • Questions for the parent to answer about their child 
  • Some statement about how excited you are for the school year 
  • Learn at PD workshops

Communication is Key with positive parent teacher relationship

As a classroom teacher, my students and their healthy being were my number one priority at school. Taking care of their social, emotional, and academic needs was essential. If something was bothering my student, disciplinary actions, or positive behavior was happening, I would immediately inform the student’s parents. 

Having communication expectations and procedures in place was helpful when I was teaching. Teachers can use classroom communication apps like ClassDojo, Remind, or ClassTag to inform and communicate with parents over some of the following items: 

  • School events 
  • Learning topics/special projects for the upcoming week
  • Positive actions 
  • Disciplinary actions 

*Tip: It’s just as  important to notify your parents about the positive actions that their child is performing in the classroom than any time “they break a rule.” 

Sending emails, weekly newsletters, or using the school phone to communicate are great communication alternatives if they cannot download one of these apps. It’s crucial to be open and honest with parents because they want to know how their child is performing in all aspects at school. Parents love to receive different forms of positive communication.  

Keeping expectations is very important. I used to establish contact hours during the school day and up to 4:00 P.M. every weekday. Sometimes teachers have to stay after school to complete lesson planning, grading, copying, or other tasks that they might not have been able to finish during the day. I would answer messages or make phone calls while I was at school. 

I silenced my email and classroom communication apps when I wasn’t on my school campus. Teachers have families, friends, and other tasks outside of school. Setting these expectations of contact hours was very important to me, and most of my parents respected that! 

Teachers have priorities outside of school as well. 

Making parents feel valuable 

Teachers can foster a positive relationship with parents by making them feel valued. Parents are the experts on knowing their children when they come to school for the first time. Asking your parents questions about anything important will make them feel valued. 

Contacting parents throughout the school year will make them feel appreciated. It will also send the message to parents that the teacher cares about the child’s best interest. 

When interacting with parents, do it in a calming, warm, and positive way. As teachers, we want to work with them as a team to ensure the best needs of our students. They will respond positively when they know that their child’s teacher has their best interest. 

Fresh Start

At the beginning of the school year, we receive new classroom lists as teachers. One of the first things that I always did was wonder about each child. How was their home life? I found myself asking questions about their backgrounds and academic levels. Did they enjoy ELA, math, or science? How many siblings did they have? 

My mind would always wonder how their personalities would bloom during the school year. Coworkers of mine would always start to tell me about the “good kids and bad kids.” I always had the mentality that my students were always welcome. My students had a clean slate and a fresh start at the beginning of each year. 

This is also important when building that relationship with parents and guardians. Never make assumptions about your students based on past revelations from former teachers. Please get to know the students and their families. Also, never make assumptions about a student’s family. Learn about the students and their families, cultures, backgrounds, and interests. 

Building Trust as a positive parent-teacher relationship

Trust is one of the most critical elements for building open communication with parents. Without trusting you, your parents are not going to listen to you. 

Without trust, parents won’t know if you have their child’s best academic or emotional needs at heart. They won’t follow your lead when you make suggestions to help improve their child’s success at school. 

If parents and teachers do not trust one another, then no necessary steps might be taken for their child’s educational progress.

You’ll need to work hard on building up the way you communicate with parents throughout the school year. Set expectations and choose how you are going to communicate each school year. Be open, positive, and willing to work as a team. Working as a team with parents will ensure that they can trust you, listen to you, and be more open to communicating throughout the school year. 

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