Families and Community

Parent- teacher relationship is extremely important for student success. When a child sees that his or her teacher has a relationship with their parent, the student has more motivation in school. The parent teacher relationship models to the student that their parent trusts the teacher, therefore the child can also trust the teacher. This team work pays dividends in the child’s learning because when the parent and teacher are fequently communicating, the teacher is more able to let the parent know areas where the child could use even more support in their learning at home. Learning can then happens at school and at home.

Along with the gains in academic success, the parent teacher relationship can build teamwork in creating the best behavior plan for the child. If a child is having behavioral problems at school, the teacher can ask the parent what strategies work at home with the child. The teacher may also ask if any changes are going on at home that may be causing the child to react in these ways. Communication will ensure that the parent and the teacher are working together to create an environment that sets the student up to be successful socially and academically.

Contact with parents can happen in many different ways. My mentor teacher meets with each of the students’ families before the first day of school. She explained that it is important to open up time to get to know the student, their family, their culture, and their excitements or concerns about school. The conference is usually casual so that the student and family feel comfortable, safe, and excited about the school year. She also explained that this time is important because she never wants her first contact with the parents to be about a negative report of the student because it’s very difficult to build a relationship or build team work after something like that.

Communication with parents can also take place through email or phone. It is the responsibility of the teacher to be made easily available with these lines of communication. Many parents work and aren’t able to volunteer in the classroom or meet often in a conference so contact through email and phone needs to be encouraged. A weekly newsletter to parents is also helpful in communicating what is going on in class, upcoming events or deadlines, and advice about how parents can be working with their child at home. This gives parents the opportunity to feel connected and involved.

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Most importantly, contact with parents should always communicate respect with an ultimate goal in supporting the child. Without this, it will be extremely difficult for the teacher to feel trusted and supported by parents who have the potential to make her job a lot more enjoyable and successful. The mutual respect between parents and teacher is the beginning of student success.

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