Parents are a big part of education. They can sometimes feel overwhelming and intimidating while also feeling supportive and helpful. It is a never-ending balancing act of making sure you’re communicating enough, making sure you are keeping parents involved in your classroom, and helping them determine the best ways to support their child. But, how can parents help teachers in the classroom? There are many ways parents can make our job easier and more effective, but you need to help them and guide them!
Why Is It Important For Teachers To Build Relationships With Parents?
Parents are a huge support system inside the classroom and are looking to support the teacher. Parents often look at the teacher for advice, support, and helpful tips regarding school work. While building a relationship may be something you are unsure how to do, it is very important to try. Parents want to be a part of their children’s schooling, and the teacher is often the piece that helps them do that.
If you are struggling with a student and need to reach out to the parents, it’s important to have already formed a relationship with them. You do not want them to feel attacked when you reach out! It is also essential to have a relationship with parents, so you know the family life of your students. Parents should feel comfortable reaching out to you with questions about field trips, notes home, projects, homework, etc. This will make your life easier, and having a relationship with your parents will make your classroom run smoother!
How Can Parents Help Teachers In The Classroom
So what are some ways parents can support teachers in the classroom? This advice is excellent for parents, but teachers can use these examples to help them form positive relationships with families this school year too!
Parents: Use the communication apps many teachers use as a tool to communicate. If your student’s teacher doesn’t use a special app, email or call them. Look at the pictures your child’s teacher shares or the announcements made. You’ll feel more connected to your student’s classroom this way!
Teachers want you to contact them when you have a concern or question! It’s often easier to get an answer right from the source (the teacher) than trying to get information from your child. Remember, teachers are busy during the day and may not be able to respond to important messages like bus changes or sick information, so make sure to send that information to the office! A positive and open line of communication can help a teacher in more ways than you know!
Teachers: Communicating with parents is one of the most important parts of education! Although many teachers dread calling parents, communication becomes easier if you build a family relationship! Parents should feel comfortable reaching out to you with questions and concerns. Think about sending home a student survey where parents can tell you a little about their student or invite parents to write a letter about their student at the beginning of the year to give you some tips and tricks for their kid.
There are many apps for communication, like Seesaw and ClassTag. Use these to your advantage, post pictures of activities you are doing in your classroom, and send reminders for field trips or special days at school. Many apps allow you to text parents without giving your personal phone number. You can often set office hours so you do not feel pressured to respond late into the night!
Some Ways To Communicate With Parents As A Teacher
- Communication Apps
- Classroom Instagram/Twitter Account
- Phone Call
- Classroom Newsletter
Parents: Many families have two working parents at this time, and volunteering inside a classroom can be challenging. But, you can volunteer in other ways that will help the teacher. If the teacher asks for unique materials due to a big project and you can buy some, send them in. If the teacher needs a couple of parent volunteers to come on the field trip, consider helping out!
Join the PTA and help teachers plan special events at the school, bring in a speaker, or a special performance. The PTA can be really helpful to teachers since many offer teacher material grants and other resources! The more parents who volunteer to be a part of the PTA, the better the school support system is! Work together with your child’s teacher. You can make the activities and events more fun and actually happen. It’s a great way to help!
Teachers: Volunteer at some after school activities, maybe work the door at the concert or scoop ice cream at the spring ice cream social. When you are visible and show families you care for their students outside the classroom, they will feel more comfortable with you, and your relationship will grow in a positive light.
You should also join the PTA at your school and attend a meeting or two during the school year. Staying late until an evening meeting is definitely not something any teacher enjoys, but parents will love to see you there and will be more inclined to help you with projects or resources you may need!
Parents: We are in the era of social media, and I know it is very easy when you are upset, angry, or looking for advice to head to Facebook or other social media site and post about it! However, teachers hate learning about a problem through a screenshot or a phone call from their principal.
If you are angry or looking for advice, text or call a couple of family members or friends. Keep your issues with a teacher private unless you feel they need to be addressed with a principal or other superior. Teachers want to support your child and want to support you, but spilling the tea on social media is not helping a teacher. You are hurting the relationship between you, the teacher, and your child.
Speak with the teacher in private and address your concerns or the issues you are having. This private conversation will help the teacher figure out a game plan, and hopefully, everyone will get to a solution that works. Once a plan is put into place, make sure you help support the teacher on your end if there is something you need to do.
Teachers: Once those kids walk into your classroom on that first day, their struggles, family life, and other private matters are to be kept confidential. This confidentiality is important because parents will not support you if you speak to all your colleagues about their child’s attention struggles or how they are two grade levels behind in reading, or that their parents are going through a divorce. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, and you want to share anything with the school counselor, social worker, your principal, etc., you feel needs to be shared!
If a student is struggling or you feel the need to reach out to a parent, keep it private. Close your classroom door, make sure it is a good time for them to talk, and speak to them as partners in their child’s learning. Supporting them will help them support you!
Parents: If your child comes home crying because they didn’t do well on a math test. Please do not negatively start talking about the teacher, the school, or the curriculum. Kids are sponges, and if you are negative about the learning environment, they go daily, and it will rub off on them, and they will be negative too.
Speak positively of the school they attend, their school teacher, and other aspects of the school. Showing your support will help your child realize they need to support and respect their teacher just like you!
Teachers: Send home positive notes, text a parent a positive message, or make some positive phone calls at least once a week. Have a checklist for each student, so you can see which students need a positive phone call home or a positive email. A weekly reflection form like the one above can be found for free here. Make sure to email/call all parents within the first week of school and share something positive about each student. Then put them on a rotating basis and try to contact each parent at least once every 3-5 weeks. It’s important to communicate with parents when a negative event happens and when a positive event happens!
4 Ways To Help Teachers
So when you are asking the question, how can parents help teachers in the classroom? These are just four ways parents can help support teachers inside and outside the classroom. Always remember teachers care for the students in their classroom as if they were their children, and they not only want to support the student but their families. So buy the extra pencils, post something positive on Facebook/Twitter, and know that even if you can’t physically be in the classroom, there are plenty of ways you can support your child’s teacher!
Parents are definitely important, but check out this blog post about ways to get to know your students!