Parent-teacher communication has never been a one-size-fits-all path to a successful relationship. Each parent and teacher relationship is unique and requires a variety of communication styles and methods. Communication has changed in many different aspects of life due to COVID-19, and parent-teacher communication is no different. How can parents successfully build relationships with teachers virtually? What are some ways that parents can proactively communicate with parents during this time of at-home learning? Here are a few tips for parents navigating communication with their child’s teacher:
Ask Teachers What They Need
Teachers are navigating totally new territory with online learning. Reach out to them via email, call, text, or other school communication tool and see what they need. Being there for your teacher builds a trusting relationship with them and lets them know you’re there for them. This really creates a “team mentality” and helps them know you’re supporting them.
Build a Positive Emotional Bank Account
Share praises with your teacher whenever you experience them. Send emails, texts, or other messages to share the “good things” with teachers. Sharing small and large gratitudes for teachers is so important for parent-teacher relationships. Teachers may not hear a lot of positives from parents, so being intentional about doing that builds a great relationship. This is really an easy thing to do virtually and builds a “positive bank account” with teachers if you ever need additional support for you or your child.
If you haven’t heard the term “emotional bank account” yet, it’s a term by Steven Covey that mirrors how a normal bank account works to build trust with others. We make deposits in a bank account, we save, and we withdraw money. But instead of money in an emotional bank account, it’s trust. We want to build that positive bank account with teachers and peers in every setting, but especially virtually when we may need to withdraw “money” based on flexibility or other unique family needs during this difficult time.
Offer to Start a Parent Forum Method
If your teacher is open to it, offer to start a parent forum. This will serve as a way for parents to communicate with the teacher easily and ask questions. This could be a Facebook page, a spot on google classroom, a GroupMe conversation, or another school-approved method of communication. Offering to help your teacher with improving parent-teacher communication during this time will be a great help to them.
Suggest A Brainstorm Session
Reach out to your teacher to see if they’d be interested in setting up a call or video chat to brainstorm ideas for parent-teacher communication. Some teachers may be very open to getting thoughts and ideas from parents. You could also reach out to a school administrator and do the same thing. The administrator could share those ideas in the brainstorming session with their whole staff or even invite teachers to the call or video conference. Approach this brainstorming session as something that you both don’t have answers to, but want to create helpful communication methods for both teachers and parents.
Share Helpful Resources
When you find a good article or idea on how teachers can build parent-teacher communication, share it with your teacher in a friendly way. You’ll want to have a positive bank account built with this teacher so they know you’re not passing judgment on what they’re currently doing in their classroom, though. Sending the articles, resources, or blogs with your teacher and providing positive framing and rationale for why you’re sending it is important. Here are a few Possip blogs that may help your teachers in this area: https://possip.com/parent-teacher-communication-during-covid-19/ and https://possip.com/welcoming-virtual-school-environment/
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in parent training for your school community!