Cara Allen, Writer, Mother, Wife
I think communication between a teacher and a parent (and the child!) is important in all years (until university/college). I know it becomes more difficult as you get higher up in the grade level and I think the level of communication decreases at that point.
I’m in no way a teacher to tell you what the difficulties are behind communication, but as a parent I can tell you I appreciate the communication I get from all the teachers my children have. They’ve had a difficult time in relation to school and their teachers are aware of that each year. I don’t know if they reach out more with my husband and I because of this but we don’t get regular communications from them. This allows for us to make sure we’re aware of any good or bad things happening with our children, especially with the struggles they’re having.
Ways I think communication could be improved:
- Put as much emphasis on the good as the bad — Knowing how much my children have struggled with school, it so exciting to hear when something goes well for them. Especially when they themselves are so excited about hearing they got noticed doing something good.
- An attempt to communicate outside of “conference” times — In the past we’ve had teachers for our children that it was like pulling tooth and nails to get information on our children’s progress unless they were having parent-teacher conferences. And then when conferences came around we were bombarded with all the bad things that had been happening and made to feel guilty even though we weren’t informed of the struggles. I know it’s hard to communicate with all parents but if you see someone struggling, it would be nice to get some kind of communication so a parent can resolve the struggle without it become a really big issue.
- Developing and informing parents of a communication plan — I think it’s important that parents and teacher both have a good understanding how communication between the two parties occur. I think this can be established at the beginning of the year/semester/trimester. Whether it be by phone, email, newsletter, etc., I think having an understanding on how it happens and a time frame for responses is a good idea. That way if a teacher doesn’t come out and say something and a parent has concerns they have a way of communicating. One thing I love about my youngest step-daughter’s teacher this year (she’s in fifth grade) is that each week, like clockwork, she sends out a “this is what next week looks like” type newsletter to all parents. It reminds the parents of activities, projects and lesson goals.
Those are the three things I think would make things easier from a parent perspective. I know teachers don’t have the time, and truly aren’t as appreciated as they should be, but it would be wonderful if we could all make it easier on each other.