We sometimes lose sight of the fact that parents and teachers have the same end goal. It can be very intimidating when we are faced by a passionate parent who wants you do everything for their child perhaps with the expectation that this will be at the expense of others in the class. Building a strong partnership through positive communication is important for all students not to mention better for your mental health. None of us are immune to that sick feeling when we are faced with a meeting with a parent we normally have very little communication with but we know they are upset about a decision you have made with good intention. Regular positive communication is the key to build that relationship and minimise surprises during parent/teacher meetings. I know feedback from our last parent/teacher interviews and my experience in other schools was positive when teachers were able to clearly outline where their child was at, what they needed to work on next and where they are heading. I can tell you that no parent looks forward to a meeting with a teacher where they have to hear about the problems their child is having academically or behaviourally. Trust me they will already know. What they want to know is how they can work on that and your are their best resource and ally. There are always exceptions to this rule but if you maintain the positive constructive relationship you can work through these times.
Surprise a Parent
Parents are not accustomed to hearing unsolicited positive comments from teachers about their children, especially in a phone call from the school. Imagine how you would feel, as a parent, if you were contacted by a teacher or the school principal and told that your son or daughter was doing well in school, or that your child had overcome a learning or behavior problem. When you make calls to share positive information with parents, be prepared for them to sound surprised-pleasantly surprised.
Research shows that school-home communication is greatly increased through personalized positive telephone contact between teachers and parents. Remember, when a phone call from school conveys good news, the atmosphere between home and school improves. When you have good news to share, why wait? Make the call and start a positive relationship with a parent.
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