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Jessica Thiefels is currently a lifestyle and education blogger and the editor of Whooo's Reading and Carpe Daily. She's been featured on PBS.org, Home.com and FamilyEducation.com.
Sep 10, 2018
The parent-teacher relationship is an elusive one. Teachers struggle with getting parents involved in the classroom and parents feel like there’s a barrier they can’t break down when it comes to understanding what is happening at school. Sound familiar?Research shows that students of ‘connected parents’ are more successful, happy, and exhibit signs of improved self-esteem. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be challenging to connect home and school. There are simple things both parents and teachers can do to build a happy and effective relationship until the last bell rings.
Sometimes, teachers simply need to open the door for communication with parents. “A lot of it is perception. Teachers perceive that families don't want to be involved when, in fact, families don't know how to be involved,” said Karen Salinas, communications director for the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. When teachers encourage parents to get involved at the beginning of the year with a sign-up sheet it makes a big difference. Teachers can provide a list of tasks that need to be done throughout the year and allow parents to sign up for whichever one they want to be involved with. Parents feel good knowing they have a choice and are provided with an easy way to connect with the classroom. WIN-WIN. A teacher’s to-do list never seems to end, and guess what? Parents have the same problem. Going the extra mile to make communication easy between parents and teachers will help everyone stay connected without feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention, taking a moment to express gratitude on both ends can go a long way. If you’re always silent on the other end, teachers get discouraged when trying to maintain communication. Jessica Bowers, first grade teachers, talks about ghost parents:
“This parent's name is on the roster, but does he really exist? This parent has never actually been seen and it makes me a little nervous because I know connected parents make successful students. Again, I understand what it is like to be a working parent, but I wish he would take an opportunity to touch base by phone or at parent's night,” says Bowers.
Your child needs you and their teacher to succeed—the teacher can only do so much communicating if you’re not there to be part of the conversation. Respond to all direct emails or messages and be sure to introduce yourself at school events.
Teacher and parents both dedicate time and money to make a child’s education as engaging and successful as possible. According to a recent back to school analysis, teachers spend an average of $500-$1,000 on classroom supplies, while parents also spend an average of $600-$1,200.Magic can happen when parents and teacher think of each other as partners, as someone who’s working just as hard as them to build a responsible, intelligent human being. Being partners in a child’s growth can help everyone learn how to better work with the child, manage behavior, meet their needs and more. The children are depending on both of you to make it work and that should be motivation enough. Need a little help? There are plenty of apps and tools to aid in the communication process. Here are a few to check out:Buzzmob: A private network that allows teachers and parents to chat, send reminders and updates, share assignments, add events, photos and more. Remind: A text messaging app that helps teachers, parents, and students communicate easily and effectively. Connected parenting also means being aware of your child’s digital life. Parental control software, such as Net Nanny, gives parents visibility into their child’s online activities. Net Nanny allows parents to take action by receiving timely email alerts about threats or inappropriate behavior. Parents should communicate any red flags, such as cyberbullying or conversations about harming themselves or others, to their child’s teacher or guidance counselor.