Parent Communication can be hard as a New Teacher.
In my first year of teaching, I was so terrified that I was going to upset a parent, that I would shake when I talked to them.
I would dread phone calls and I was constantly worried that someone was going to come in upset.
After several years, however, I have learned the dos and don’ts of Parent Communication. Now, I don’t dread talking to my parents. Actually, I enjoy it.
What’s better is that even my parents are more excited to reach out. And when they do have a problem, they address it as a “let’s work together” attitude.
Now, I am not afraid of communicating with my families and messing up. And that is all thanks to the climate and environment I created for my families.
So if you are a new teacher or just need some practical tips that you can use right now to transform your Parent Communication, then this post is for you.
Today we are going to cover:
- Why is Parent Communication so Important for Teachers?
- How to Have Positive Parent Communication Right Now.
- How to Not Only Calm But Transform Upset Families (In case it does happen)
So grab some coffee, relax, and let’s get started!
(This post may contain affiliate or external links. Meaning I get a commision if you purchase anything through my links at no cost to you. Read full disclosure here.)
Why is Parent Communication Important For Teachers?
According to Mathletics, “there’s plenty of evidence that shows positive communication between parents and teachers helps improve academic performance.”
The more involved Families are in their Child’s learning, the more support there is at home. Besides, if the family has a positive mindset towards education, the student will naturally acquire the same mindset.
That’s why at the beginning of the year I’m not only trying to teach my students procedures or rules, but I am also building a relationship with my families.
When I first started teaching, I did not prioritize Parent Communication as I should have. And let me just say, my students suffered because of it.
Now, my students thrive because they have the support they need in and out of the classroom.
With Positive Parent Communication my school year has had:
- Positive Communication with Families even if there is a problem
- Little miscommunication because we are almost always on the same page
- Mutual respect between families and myself as well as boundaries
- Parent Involvement at Home even with Distance or Hybrid Learning
Overall, Parent Communication is extremely important and can honestly define what kind of year you’re going to have.
But I want to ensure that you have a positive year, so let’s talk about tips you can implement TODAY to create a positive environment for Parent Communication.
- How to Build a Positive Classroom Community as a First Year Teacher
- 15 First-Year Teacher Tips From 15 Experienced Teachers
- 5 Key Strategies to Setting Up Classroom Procedures As a First Year Teacher
How to Have Positive Parent Communication RIGHT NOW
If you read my article on “How to Have Parent-Teacher Conferences Like a Pro,” then you know how important positivity, mindset, and a “team” framework can transform your experience.
But I want to go deeper. Let’s take a deep dive into Parent Communication and how you can have better relationships with your Families starting today.
It’s All About Mindset
Just like in the article “How to Have Parent-Teacher Conferences Like a Pro,” we need to make sure that we are in the right mindset for this to work.
When I first came in as a teacher, there were a lot of misconceptions about Parent Relationships with teachers.
I’m not going to lie, a lot of them were negative and had the “Teacher vs. Parent” Mindset.
Society seemed to think that it was nearly impossible for these two groups to coincide.
The more I taught, however, the more I was able to prove this negative mindset wrong.
The reality is, the more you open up your classroom as a “Team” environment, the more parent involvement you are going to get.
Instead of telling your families the problem, open the floor up to hear their suggestions and ask “What can WE do about this?”
In the classroom, in order to have a positive relationship with your families and even your kids for that matter, it’s all about the “We.”
When you address every problem with “we” you are validating that your families are important. As well as their thoughts and emotions.
This helps them to be more open to work with you and to address any problems that may come up before they get out of hand.
Let’s Be Positive
In the article where I talked about Parent-Teacher Conferences, you may also recall the 3 P’s or Positives that I start every conference with.
The reason this is important is that as a new teacher, it can be easy to only reach out to families when you have an issue.
This can be very disheartening as a parent because if they only hear from you when there is a problem, they may start to think that their child never behaves at school.
Or worse, they might think you don’t care about their child.
That’s why I try as often as I can to send a positive home to families.
For this to work, however, you need to give specific examples of a positive that shows you know that child.
“Suzy is very kind.”
This example is very broad and parents might even wonder if you are just making a general statement to make them feel better or like you.
But a good example would be:
Suzy is very kind! For example, on Friday she helped her classmate push in their chair.
This example shows that you know Suzy, you care to watch her good behavior throughout the day, and you are not just making a generic compliment.
I know this is small, but a little effort like this can make an immense transformation in your Parent Communication Throughout the year!
Some ways to incorporate these Positives are:
- Parent-Teacher Conferences (Like I talk about here)
- Sending a Virtual Message (ClassDojo, Email, etc.)
- A written note home
- A Positive Phone Call Home
If you incorporate these even once a month with your families, I can guarantee you will get instant Positive Relationships with your families!
This is one of the biggest things you can do when it comes to building relationships with your families and Parent Communication.
I still remember how inconsistent I was with my families my first year of teaching. So much so, that my families had no idea what was going on.
I would research, try a new way of communicating, then try something new. It was just a nightmare.
So the best thing you can do for your families is to come up with consistent ways to communicate.
When you do this you are:
- Avoiding frustrating families who are trying to figure out what is going on.
- Keeping your families in the loop on what’s going on.
- Building trust with your families because they know they can rely on you.
And there are several ways you can do this that takes little time at all! I like to keep my communication short, sweet, and to the point because the longer the message the less likely families will read it.
That’s why I use a monthly newsletter like the one below that tells my families exactly what to expect.
I love these because I can post important dates like parties, birthdays, conferences, etc. Plus I can put what we are working on in class and homework.
If you want access to these I have them posted on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and I made them editable.
Of course, you can always make your own or use other ways to communicate. For instance, you can create:
- A Monthly Newsletter
- A Weekly or Monthly Message on Online Resource (For example ClassDojo)
- A Weekly or Monthly Email
And so much more!
Creating weekly or monthly resources allows your families to know what to expect for the coming month with little to no surprises. This keeps miscommunications at a minimum and prevents problems in the future.
IMPORTANT TIP: Remember to keep your communication sweet, short, and to the point. If you do long messages families may not read them!
How to Not Only Calm But Transform Upset Families
Now that we have talked about tips to build Parent Communication with your families, let’s talk about what to do when they are upset.
It was the summer after my first year of teaching, and I was terrified!
I was reflecting on how upset families approach me and I was dreading the new school year.
The thought of having another family come to me upset and yelling made me anxious.
But then I ran across a video… and it changed my life.
You see, I didn’t know what to do when a parent or family member was upset.
Oftentimes I would sit there paralyzed biting my tongue so I wouldn’t add to the situation.
I didn’t know how to de-escalate a situation. But now I do!
And it is all thanks to this video “How to Win Over Angry and Complaining Parents.”
If you are terrified of upset families or not sure what to do, this video will change your life.
In the video, they cover some basic things to do.
First, you need to thank them for bringing this situation to their attention.
Second, you need to say WHY you are sorry.
Third, you apologize for their situation. A HUGE point he makes here is you are not admitting you are at blame. Rather, you are apologizing for the stress this has caused.
For instance, “I am sorry that your child is upset because the last thing we want in class is for anyone to feel left out.”
The final step, and the biggest of all, is “Let’s Work Together.”
You are bringing the member in on how WE can fix it.
This is GOLD!
Honestly, after watching this video I muttered the following phrase and rehearsed scenarios in my mind.
“Thank you, Because, I’m Sorry, Let’s Work Together.”
By the next year, I had created systems that prevented confrontations with my families and built relationships.
But I also had a phrase in my mind when things did go wrong.
And let me tell you, no matter how good of a teacher you are, there will eventually be a problem.
And this worked!
Not only had I fixed the problem, but I was able to build a closer connection with my families which is what this is all about.
So if you have a chance, definitely check out this video. It could save your day or year if you have an upset family.
Let’s Transform our Parent Communication Right Now
With the right systems in place, you can have an amazing with your families.
It took me several years, but I am so glad I learned all of these tips and tricks so I could share them with you.
Just as a recap they are:
- Parent Communication is important because it allows you and your students to have an amazing year in and out of the classroom.
- Create a positive mindset when it comes to Parent Communication to transform your relationships.
- Share Positives that are specific with examples that show that you care and know the student.
- Be consistent with your communication.
- Resolve issues with the phrase “Thank you, Because, I’m Sorry, Let’s Work Together.”
I hope you found this article helpful and with some actionable steps that you can use right now.
If you try any of these, please comment down below how it went for you.
I love hearing from you!
Because “Together we are stronger.”
Thank you and as always: