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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

(Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is from Rachel Davis. I realize that most of us are not teachers in need of communication advice, however this list is a great checklist for parents to use in determining if a teacher is a good one. And! You can do some of this communicating with teachers yourself, which helps greatly. I always appreciated parents who made the effort to reach out to me when I was teaching. Thanks Rachel!!)

The two most important influences in a child’s early years are their parents and teachers; when a child starts school, they move from a parent-only sphere to another that comprises their peers and teachers. And unless the gap between parents and teachers is bridged by effective communication, children do not gain the most advantages from schooling and education. Communication is a two-way street in which parents and teachers have to be actively involved; however, the onus falls on teachers as they are responsible for the child’s early years in school and their academic and all-round development. Teachers can take the initiative in opening the channels of communication by:

    1. Starting the school year with personal notes (or emails) to parents – ensure that all parents check their email and if not, send out letters the old-fashioned way.
    2. Taking the time to send out notes to parents throughout the school year – the notes must focus on both the positives and the engatives of the student in the classroom and must not be sent just to complain to parents about their child.
    3. Being open with parents during parent-teacher conferences – the most effective conferences are those that limit the number of parents per session and allots time frames for each child and their parents. This way, you can accord equal importance to all children and parents and have a thorough discussion about performances and behavior.
    4. Calling parents to double check if you feel their child is not being honest about the reason for being absent from school – to avoid unpleasantness, don’t accuse the child of doing anything wrong initially and clarify before you assume that he/she was in the wrong. If the parents are aware of their child’s truancy, tell them gently that they need to co-operate with the school and their child’s teachers to infuse more responsibility in their child.
    5. Writing notes behind students’ homework and assignment books to show your appreciation of their work – this indirect form of communication tells the parent that you care about each child and are concerned about their progress.
    6. Asking parents of children who repeatedly get into trouble to come to school for a one-on-one direct talk – don’t do this in front of other parents or students, and talk to the parents first before you bring the child into the discussion too.
    7. Putting up the children’s work on a notice board or display case and asking parents to come in for a day and take pride in their child’s achievements – this is a very direct and effective way of communicating to parents about their child’s performance in class.
    8. Allowing parents to email you in case they have questions about homework or any other aspect of school – while some would prefer your cell phone number, gently ask them to email if they have any issues they need to discuss.
    9. Asking parents to volunteer for school activities – they can chaperone events, help with fundraisers, monitor hallways and lunchrooms and even deliver guest lectures if they’re proficient in their field of work.
    10. Being available when parents ask to meet and talk about their child and his/her performance – while some parents can get very pushy, there are many others who have genuine needs and so deserve your time.

This guest post is contributed by Rachel Davis, she writes on the topic of Radiology degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: racheldavis65[@]gmail[.]com.

Image courtesy of Lori L. Stalteri via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want good communication with teachers.