"I became a teacher because I just love communicating with the parents of my students"…said no one ever.
Communicating with parents is rarely considered a primary function of teachers.
Those are the tasks most people would place at the top of teachers' to-do lists. Things like attending staff meetings, administering standardized tests, and maintaining teacher credentials tend to fall further down the list in the "other" category, along with chaperoning dances and advising the chess club. Yes, these are things teachers do, and sometimes things they enjoy doing. But they're secondary to the main crux (and main draw) of the job, which is teaching.
Below the items in the "other" category, in a new section titled "if there's time," is where we are likely to find the task of communicating with parents. And when, we ask you, is there ever time in a teacher's schedule for tasks not considered urgent or mandatory?
True, many schools require progress reports and report cards to be issued at regular intervals, and those do serve as a way to communicate with parents at the most basic level. And yes, parent-teacher conferences offer another built-in method to check in with parents and keep them informed of their students' performance and progress.
But these interactions with parents tend to be minimal. Report cards rarely contain extensive comments, and progress reports, though they may contain a phrase or two, are often only required for students who aren't doing so hot in the classroom. As for parent-teacher conferences, even though they are typically conducted in person, they tend to be somewhat impersonal, limited in scope and time, and rarely offering a chance for meaningful interactions between parent and teacher.
So how are teachers, with their ultra-busy schedules, to find the time to build strong relationships with parents?
Well lucky for you we have a few suggestions. Whether you're trying to improve your approach to conferencing, get parents into your classroom, or just looking for new ways to touch base with parents, we've got you covered. And guess what: the ideas are just so good, and so in-depth, that they each get their own article.
So check out the pieces below for tips to improve your relationships with your students' parents and guardians.
By the time you're through, you'll be reevaluating that statement at the beginning about what you love most about teaching.