From lesson planning to grading to extracurricular activities like coaching and club leadership, teachers have a lot to balance outside of regular teaching hours. And while in a perfect world teachers and parents would be in regular contact, too often that channel of communication is more trickle than stream.
Active communication benefits students, parents, and teachers
Active communication between parents and teachers benefits everyone. The more parents know about how their children are being educated, the better they can structure their home life to support teachers.
What’s more, there’s a growing body of research suggesting that an increase in parental involvement leads to higher academic achievement among students. And the more that teachers stay in contact with parents, the better informed they can be about each student’s unique home life and personal needs.
Strategies for parent-teacher communication
Two-way communication is a good foundation for active communication between parents and teachers. Apart from parent-teacher conferences, you could try keeping a class blog that parents can follow, or using smartphone apps to streamline the communication process and save time. This list offers some suggestions about which apps to use, and how.
Teachers should consider reaching out to parents once they know which students are in their classes for the year. Initiation of contact could take the form of something as simple as an email or phone call introducing yourself. Teachers might also want to establish classroom expectations at that point, so everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.
If problems develop with a student, teachers shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to parents. Waiting too long can compound problems or give fertile soil for entirely new problems to sprout, and parents can often be a valuable resource for nipping potential issues in the bud.
Consistency is another factor in keeping active, effective contact with parents, who often appreciate frequent feedback on an ongoing basis—particularly when it comes to homework.
Teachers should also make sure to follow through with protocols established with parents, and establish professional dialogue in clear, unambiguous language.
For tips on hosting a successful parent-teacher conference, see our detailed guidelines here.