I am a firm believer that a child’s education requires an investment from three parties: the teacher, the child and the parents! All three working together make for a successful year. At first, parents may be hesitant to come to you or to speak with you (especially if there is a language barrier or cultural differences). Whatever their reasons may be, you can help them be more comfortable by initiating contact with parents and continually trying to build on that relationship!
At the beginning of the school year, when you first meet with a parent, assess how much time you have to chat. If you have a few minutes, take the time to ask about their family. How many siblings does the child in your class have? What do they all like to do together? Does your student play any sports?
It’s important to remember that taking the time to just chat about non-school stuff shows that you care about the whole child and not just his/her academics. Parents like to know that you have a vested interested in their child. Creating a trusting and caring rapport will help parents feel more comfortable when speaking to you. This will go a long way later on if you ever need to talk to them about something that is more difficult to discuss.
If there isn’t too much time available then keep it short and sweet but try to end in a way that shows you still care and want to talk more in the future. “I’m sorry we couldn’t talk for too long, I look forward to talking more later so that I can get to know you better.” Or “I look forward to our meeting on _______ when we can talk a little bit longer about your child.”
- Read a story to the class.
- Read with a small group or individual student.
- Help a student that struggled with the previous night’s homework.
- Lead a craft or project with the class.
- Help get centers or activities prepped.
- Make copies.
- Create packets.
- Get stuff ready for the upcoming week.
- Depending on district or school policies, they can grade tests or classwork.
Please, please don’t let language barriers be a reason to not invite parents into the room. Any parent that is willing to come and help is showing they care about their child and their education is important. If you are worried about communicating, usually their own child or other children in the class can serve as interpreters! Just remember how happy kids are when they see their parents in their classroom!So these are my 5 tips for you all!