Teaching forces us to be a jack of all trades. Not only do we have to plan meaningful lessons, teach (as well as manage a classroom full of kids), and make sure to enrich or remediate to meet all of their needs, but we also have to build a rapport with our students’ parents. In fact, building strong relationships and creating a “let’s work together” feeling is vital for a successful school year. So, how do we strengthen those connections? I do it purposefully in these six ways:
1. Establish a Warm Relationship from the Start
2. Create a Weekly Newsletter
3. Communicate Issues as They Arise
4. Celebrate Accomplishments
5. Include Parents in Classroom Activities
6. Plan Some P.R. (Public Relations) Events
An Open House near the end of the year is another opportunity to show what your kids have done throughout the year. This is not a time to simply open your door and have the parents walk around type of event, but it is one that takes lots of planning and saving of student work so we can really show off our kids and the awesome things we’ve been doing throughout the year.
If you’ve taught any length of time, then you know that there are all sorts of parents, from the helicopter types who hover, to the overly ambitious, to the ones we wish would get more involved. But no matter what types of parents you are given to deal with, by establishing and nurturing positive relationships with them, we strengthen the very important home-school connection, and that’s good for everyone, especially for your students.