6 Ways Parents Can Support Strong Teacher Communication

Communication, For Parents, Teachers and Staff / /
parent / teacher communication

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Many schools have embraced connecting with parents via phone or virtual meetings instead of requiring them to be in-person. This allows teachers the opportunity to connect with more families. Parents don’t have to take time off work or find childcare for younger siblings while they travel to school and teachers don’t have to spend quite as many hours at school after the school day. 

This article was originally posted August 2020. We’ve updated the content and provided a few additional ideas!

However, we know that being in the same room, sharing a handshake and smile, reading body language, and feeling each other’s presence can help establish and build trust. So how can parents successfully build relationships with teachers if they don’t meet with them in person? 

Here are a few tips for parents navigating communication with their child’s teacher:

1. Build a Positive Emotional Bank Account

Share praise with your teacher whenever you can. 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, so that if we need to withdraw “money” and ask for flexibility or additional support. 

2. Ask Teachers What They Need

Reach out to teachers 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. Here are some ideas for asking what teachers might need from you throughout the year:

    • Beginning of the year:
        • Do you need help sorting and storing supplies? 

        • Are there any supplies that you could use more of?

    • Throughout the year:
        • Is there anything I can prepare for you at home and drop off at school – like putting together little reader books or washing and folding extra sets of clothing?

        • Do you need more tissues or hand sanitizer or dry erase markers or sharpened pencils?

    • When holidays approach:
        • Do you need help coordinating parent volunteers? 

        • Do you need help coordinating things families can send in for the special day? 

3. Offer to Start or Help Monitor 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 to the teacher or to each other. 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 open a lane of communication could be a great help to them to keep everyone informed with the classroom needs and events over the year.

4. 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.

5. 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. 

6. Come Prepared to Parent / Teacher Conferences

Teachers typically have a lot of information to give you about your student and their academic and social progress. Thinking through what you would like to know and discuss can help everyone feel like the conference is a meaningful dialogue instead of a one-sided presentation. Check out Possip’s guide to Parent / Teacher conferences for specific ideas on how to maximize your time with your teachers. 

Reach out to support@possip.com if you’re interested in parent training for your school community!