How to Build a Bridge Between Parents And Teachers?

Parenting and Teaching are two very similar jobs. The primary objective of both these jobs is to mold young minds into something great. Therefore, parents and teachers must always be working together. Regular school communication with parents is needed. There are many benefits of parents-teachers relationships on child development. Read to know creative ways for teachers to communicate with parents.

However, though their motto is the same, their ways of working are entirely different. When parents send a child to school, they have their complete trust and faith in the school.

They believe the teachers and the school staff will take the utmost care of the academics and the personal well-being of the child on the school premises.

On the other hand, teachers give their best to shape the child’s mind. They focus not only on teaching them the textbook contents but also on something beyond. Teachers try to instill social skills, values, morals, etc. through each lesson.

Importance Of Parent-Teacher Collaboration

“99% of all communication problems start with misunderstandings that develop as a result of differing viewpoints and conditioning.”

Though parents and teachers are on the same team, they fail to realize it. They tend to blame each other if the child makes a mistake. E.g., if a child answers back to someone, the parents might think, “The teachers in the school don’t teach manners.”

On the other hand, the teachers feel that there is something wrong on the grassroots level, i.e., at home, which is why the child behaves so weird.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. public schools add as many as 100,000 new ELL students each year.

So, bridging the gap between parents and teachers is the need of the hour to shape a better future for your children.

What Can Cause this Gap Between the Parents and the Teachers?

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1. Making Assumptions

The most common cause of the rift between the teachers and parents is the lack of communication. Most of the time, both the parties keep making assumptions about the other based on the child’s behavior.

E.g., if a brilliant child scores poorly in a particular subject, the parents automatically assume that it’s because of the teacher. They assume the teacher must not have taught the content properly or must have limited knowledge and experience.

On the other hand, the teacher may assume that the parents must not have paid attention to the child’s studies and revision. Both parties end up making negative assumptions even without meeting or knowing each other.

2. Negative Interactions

In my career as a teacher, I have noticed that the interactions between parents and teachers are never or very rarely positive. The conversation may usually start on a good note, but somehow or the other, it takes an ugly turn.

Both parents, as well as teachers, very often play the blame game. The unfortunate thing is that the child is witnessing all this and picks up unnecessary thoughts from this conversation.

3. Unproductive Communication

Most of the teachers, especially those working in primary sections, have an incredible command over their classroom management and teaching skills.

They are well trained and can easily handle any academic or co-curricular activity.

However, these teachers lack experience and knowledge when it comes to communicating with parents. Most of these teachers hide real facts or sugar coat things when they talk to their parents.

Such conversations may be unnecessary and unproductive even when the intentions are healthy. This may, at times, result in gaps in proper and positive communication.

4. Communication Gap

The importance of parent and teacher communication could not be stressed more than ever. Sadly, parent-teachers’ meetings don’t seem to add value in many cases. In many rural and semi-urban schools globally, the language gap is another big reason for the gap between parents and teachers.

I would like to share a personal example here. My mom would attend my parent-teachers’ meetings. She couldn’t understand or read or write or speak English as she had done her complete schooling in a local language, Kannada.

My mother felt a bit ashamed to convey this to my class teacher. Hence, she wouldn’t understand what my teacher said, nor would she respond verbally (just by nods). Their conversations were literally for a few seconds. This is the case for most of the students in rural and semi-urban schools. This causes a real communication gap.

5. Shortage of Time

In the urban and metropolitan regions, the scenario is somewhat different. Most of the parents are well educated and working in big firms. The problem here is a lack of time.

Parents are unable to make time for meetings and school events. They hardly drop by for a few moments during the open house sessions.

Teachers hardly get a chance to have a proper talk about the child with these parents.

6. Ignorance

An ignorant person (maybe a parent or a teacher) can also create or widen the gap. Ignorant parents usually aren’t bothered about what’s happening at school. Some parents are least interested in getting involved in any school activities involving their child. They aren’t too busy; rather, they are just sluggish.

On the other hand, ignorant teachers are least interested in their students. They feel their only job is to enter a classroom, speak continuously for the given period, and then leave.

How Can We Bridge the Gap Between Parents and Teachers?

Teachers can use creative ways to communicate with parents. There are many benefits of parents-teachers relationships towards children. Hence, schools need to have communication with parents regularly.

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1. Organize Social Activities

Social activities are the best way for parents and teachers to be working together. Schools can organize special activities for teachers to bond with their parents. I had once come across a school that held a friendly football match between parents and teachers.

This was a good opportunity for the parents and teachers to get to know each other outside the classroom’s four walls.

Such activities also help build respect towards the other person’s views and opinions, leading to healthy conversations.

2. Foster Positive Interactions

Make sure whenever there are any interactions, it starts and ends on a positive note. Never raise your voice while speaking to the other person. Be patient and listen to what the other person has to say. Be polite and use kind words at all times.

Avoid the blame game at any cost.

If there are any grievances, there are some correct ways to communicate them without shouting and screaming and creating a scene. Fostering positive interactions between parents and teachers has ample benefits for the children and their relationship with both.

3. Communicate Through Online Modes

Use online discussion forums, email, or social networks to communicate with each other. This option is extremely suitable for parents who have a busy schedule and can make time to visit the teacher personally.

Schools these days have their discussion forums and chat portals where parents and teachers can communicate. Again, it is necessary to stay on point, avoid personal prejudices, and be polite.

4. Open Door Policy

Always be welcoming when any parent approaches you with a suggestion or a question, or a complaint. Many schools encourage parents-teachers communication through an open door policy.

Open door policy is essential to encourage introverted, shy, or fearful parents to know their child’s progress.

Also, allow parents to communicate with you in whatever language they prefer. Use the 3:1 ratio chat, which means if you have one complaint about the child, include three positive attributes about the child.

5. LAFF don’t CRY

Lastly, this strategy is something most of the teachers are taught during their training years. It is one of the most creative ways for teachers to communicate with parents. Here is what this means:

L- Listen, empathize, and communicate with respect.
A– Ask questions and ask permission to take notes.
F– Focus on the issues.
F– Find the first step.

C- Criticize people who aren’t present.
R- React hastily and promise something you can’t deliver.
Y- Yapping and talking about unnecessary things.

Final thoughts,

So, why are parent-teacher relationships so important?

Parents and teachers working together is the best way to help children succeed. A constructive parent-teacher relationship starts with active communication.

Bridging the gap between parents and teachers is essential to encourage and promote the child’s healthy development.

Remember, whatever conversations are happening should be beneficial to the child. Additionally, avoid personal chatter, gossiping, and comparison at all times.

Before sending the teacher a friend request on any social media channels, ask her permission as sometimes that’s her private space. If you feel at any point that the conversation is taking a negative or an unproductive turn, stop it there itself. Restart the conversation some other time on a peaceful note.

Key Takeaways On Parents And Teachers Working Together

  • Parents and teachers working together is the best way to help children succeed.
  • Schools need to foster regular communication with parents as there are many benefits of parents-teachers relationships.
  • Various factors cause a gap between parents and teachers. This indirectly affects the child.
  • Some of these factors include ignorance, misunderstanding, busy schedule, shortage of time, prejudices, etc.
  • Hence, parents and teachers need to bridge the gap as there are many benefits to this relationship.
  • Moreover, school teachers can use creative ways to communicate with parents.
  • School teachers need to have an open-door policy communication strategy with parents.
  • Another creative way for teachers to communicate with parents is through activities and events like fundraisers, celebrations, potlucks, etc.
  • Additionally, teachers can also use online discussion forums, email, or social networks to communicate well.
  • In conclusion, it is necessary to foster positive communication and relationships and bridge the gap between parents and teachers.
  • Dear parents, don’t gossip about the teacher or keep pointing out her flaws behind her back.
  • Dear teachers, don’t keep running away from your parents or their complaints.

Do you have any creative ways to make communication between parents and teachers better? Feel free to share your thoughts on school communication with parents below!

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Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with interests in blogging. Also, a die-hard fan of the FRIENDS series.