As an educator part of my job is to communicate with parents. When I first began teaching seven years ago I was quite bad at this. In fact, I tried to often avoid face to face situations. This was due to two reasons. First, I was never given classes in college on effective parent and teacher communication. To my understanding this is not an area included in educator programs. However, this is a very important part of an educator’s job. Additionally, I was nervous because I had a bad experience. One of my students cheated and I gave her a zero. I wrote the student’s guardian letters and called as stated in the school policy. The parent never replied. I passed this off as the student not giving the parent the notice and left the zero and figured the parent would eventually question the grade.
Months passed until finally school was almost finished. While taking end of the year exams the student’s mom barged in and began screaming at me that I was a terrible teacher who sat at my desk all day and that she was staying to observe my class. This was definitely not true. I told her she could not observe the class without the principal’s permission because we had final exams. Then I asked her why she was telling me these things. She said her daughter had told her this. When I asked about the cheating she said her daughter told her that I had been mistaken and wrongly accused her of cheating. I was shocked. The mom had read the messages but took the daughter’s word. Later, I found out the parent had been telling me these things because she didn’t want to pay the private school’s tuition. This scarred me for a long time. However, not all parents are like this. I was wrong to quit trying to engage parents.
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Parentella: Studies show parental support is imperative to children’s education, why are we still having the disconnect?
JaneBalvanz: I think the disconnect often comes from the parents’ experience of schools.
spedteacher: Many teachers seem far more comfortable talking to kids than to adults. Do parents intimidate teachers?
KerryHawk02: Thoughts on using Web 2.0 to facilitate parent-teacher communication http://bit.ly/bKe4mk
johnson237: any positive communication fosters parent relations – phone call, email, postcard …
2ndgradetchr: sometimes parents ask really tough questions (in a good way) and i don’t always feel i have the best answer for them
ShellTerrell:Part of the problem is educators don’t get professional development teaching them effective ways to communicate with parents and include them
SpellingCity: @JaneBalvanz I brought parents into my computer lab, I would have liked to tie it into a broader program
Mbteach: I try to remember, wherever I am the person I’m talking to might be a parent. It gives me perspective parents are people!
Cybraryman1: Always provide food and child care service for parents. Hands-on workshops and small group sessions with faciliator worked well
SelfishMom: @Parentella We’ve spent the past 3 or 4 yrs trying to get all parents on email, only 1/3 are. Not everyone reads email.
readtoday: Does anyone use phone trees or phone round robin?
ToughLoveforX: @iangowans”public forum happnngs at school?” #ptchat No doubt would be a little nervous making at first. But long run much better, I think.
Jer_Johnson8842: we often use a phone message system which goes out
Celinejr: use text to let parents know kid didn’t show up.1st skipped school few days without parents noticing, she erased messages on phone!
butwait: @readtoday Listening empowers parents. Acknowledging the primacy of parental understanding empowers parents.
wmchamberlain: How great would it be for classrooms to have skype set up for parents to call in and check on students through the day.
James_O_Barnes: As a parent I make an effort to contact my kids teachers on a regular basis. Sometimes just to say hi
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by Shelly Terrell
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