Importance of Parent-Teacher Communication and Relationships

Importance-of-Parent-Teacher-Communication-and-Relationships.jpg

Both parents and teachers play a pivotal role in educating a child. Parents are a child’s first teacher. They teach essential life and academic skills while providing love and support that help students healthily develop. When teachers partner their ability to inspire thought and creativity with the foundational support parents provide, students are better prepared to have a positive school experience.

​Both parents and teachers play a pivotal role in educating a child. Parents are a child’s first teacher. They teach essential life and academic skills while providing love and support that help students healthily develop. When teachers partner their ability to inspire thought and creativity with the foundational support parents provide, students are better prepared to have a positive school experience.

→ See how we support Parent-Teacher Communication in Schools

How Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships Impact Students 

It can greatly benefit students when parents and teachers work as a team. Here are a few ways that positive parent and teacher connections impact student success.

Students Are More Invested In Classroom Goals 

When parents and teachers have positive connections, students develop a unique trust in their teachers. They see the care and connection between both parties, and the student becomes more invested in their own role within the partnership. The student knows that both parties are invested in their development and works more intentionally to reach their academic goals.

A higher level of respect is developed for the teacher because the students recognize how their teacher intentionally involves and respects parents. Additionally, parents and students are more easily able to connect about things happening in the classroom because communication between home and school is clear and consistent. Students grow excited about their parents’ involvement, looking forward to moments when they can share their successes.

Problem Solving Happens Efficiently 

It’s easier to have conversations about tough topics when relationships are strong. Teachers can communicate a student challenge without fear, and parents will have more trust in the teacher’s perspective because of their positive connection. Students are less worried about facing challenges because they have faith that they can overcome obstacles with their teacher and parents by their side. The team is able to work more effectively towards finding a solution because trust has been established.

Greater Wins 

Student wins are more worthwhile and meaningful when parents and teachers collaborate to celebrate student success. Each party is able to see how their work contributed to the improved grade, award, student-leadership position, scholarship, or college acceptance. These priceless moments prove that the entire village — the student, teacher and parents — help make goals happen.

How Teachers and Parents Can Plan to Have Positive Relationships

Positive parent teacher relationships can look many ways. They include strong communication, cooperation and trust. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni, offers a theory that teams work most effectively when they first establish trust. Once trust is developed, a collective can address and overcome challenges, commit to goals, hold one another accountable, and focus on achieving results. This philosophy applies well to parents and teachers.

What Teachers Can Do to Build Relationships with Parents 

Use a Consistent Communication Platform 

Whether you send home a daily student journal with highlights and challenges, a weekly progress report, or a monthly classroom newsletter, create systems to keep communication with parents consistent. Regularly sharing announcements and reports on student progress keeps parents informed and engaged with what’s happening in the classroom.

Communication is most effective when it goes both ways. Kickboard has created a web-based family portal that allows both parents and teachers to communicate with each other. Parents can login and check their child’s daily behavior performance. Teachers and parents can message each other to ask questions and talk more specifically about the student. This platform allows for efficient and effective communication that includes both parties.

Have fair, clear and consistent classroom systems 

Students and parents should know what is expected in every classroom. These expectations and practices should be communicated at the beginning of the year and should be followed with fidelity. Sending home an agreement that outlines expectations for students, teachers and parents is a great way to ensure that there is clarity for all parties. This can also be done at an open house family event at the beginning of the year. Committing to systems and being consistent with expectations shows parents and students a teacher can be trusted.

Include Parents 

Teachers should find ways to include parents that surpass financial contributions such as snacks and school supplies. Invite parents on field trips. Allow parents to be helpers for a day in class for special projects. Include parents as an audience when students are presenting their work. All of these ways give parents a role in the classroom. Their involvement is invaluable and can positively impact their child’s school experience.

Accept and Reflect on Parent Feedback 

Parents know and love their children. Their insight about their child’s needs is the most valuable data a teacher can have. Have parents complete surveys throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, send home a survey that asks parents to highlight their students’ strengths and their hopes for the year. (This can also be done as a student-facing survey.) Then, halfway through the year, ask parents to give feedback on classroom practices to check in on progress.

Teachers should reflect on feedback from parents. It can be hard to accept and implement the ideas of multiple people, however, if teachers are able to detach emotions, this can be practice-altering feedback that positively impacts student results.

Show Empathy to Parents 

It can be easy for a teacher to assume that a parent is uninvested after an unreturned phone call or missed meeting. However, parenting is one of the hardest life jobs one can do, especially in today’s political and financial landscape. Teachers should be patient with parents and seek to understand before labeling a parent as “uninvolved”. Asking parents the best way and time to communicate can ensure that teachers effectively get in touch with parents. And being sure to share student successes as much as student challenges will help parents maintain momentum as they work to provide for all of their child’s many needs.

What Parents Can Do to Build Relationships with Teachers 

Read and Respond to School Correspondence 

Teachers often send letters to parents to keep them informed. Some schools have a more modern approach and use educational technology platforms like Kickboard where parents and teachers can communicate about student progress and daily logistics. Reviewing and responding to teacher communication can ensure that parents stay updated on classroom goals and student progress, especially in between report card cycles.

Attend School Meetings When Possible 

Many schools establish special events that help parents and teachers talk about classroom procedures and topics. At the beginning of the year, this may look like an enrollment day or open house. Throughout the year, schools may have parent-teacher conferences where both parties can connect about student progress. Additionally, school events such as award ceremonies and end-of-year celebrations are great times for parents and teachers to celebrate the success students are having throughout the year.

Provide Student Academic History 

Teachers can benefit from as much context for student strengths and needs that can be provided. Sharing student report cards, meeting notes, and intervention documentation can help teachers learn more about what strategies have been attempted and were successful for students. Additionally, student history may help teachers work more effectively towards meeting student needs because they have more context about the students academics and behavior.

Show Empathy to Teachers 

Teaching can be a very tough job. Often, the work is stressful and overwhelming. Parents should always advocate for their child. However, a great way to support a teacher is to be patient, understanding and offer help.

Parent-teacher relationships work when all parties commit to contributing what they can to make the partnership work. These positive connections will impact a student’s classroom experience by helping students trust their teacher. In a trusted classroom environment, students feel welcomed and work more intentionally to meet classroom goals. When parents have a voice in their child’s learning experience, they are more supportive of classroom goals and lend their expertise in ways that are above and beyond standard parental expectations. And when teachers have the support of parents, they are more effective and confident in their teaching practices. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work!

Here at Kickboard we have seen many schools improve parent-teacher relationships by using our family portal, PBIS mobile app, web platform, and professional development services to support their initiatives. Kickboard helps teachers to communicate with parents, track student behavior, identify cultural trends and implement systems to improve student results.