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The City Journals

Student success depends on good parent/teacher communication

Aug 30, 2018 01:44PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Registration Day at a local Charter School.

By Nikki Crown | [email protected] 

Any relationship requires work in order for it to succeed. Parents and teachers both want the same outcome, they want their students to succeed. A big step in that process is having successful parent/teacher communication. When both the parent and the teacher are willing to communicate with each other they can be instrumental in the success of that student. 

Parent-teacher relationships don’t just happen. They are built over time through consistent communication, collaboration and trust. Here’s what both teachers and parents had to say. 

Tracy Findlay, a first grade teacher at Longview Elementary, said, “The most important thing is to stay involved with your child’s classroom.” Volunteering in your child’s classroom may include: attending field trips, attending school activities and responding quickly and positively to any communication sent home. 

Findlay also said, “You are your child’s greatest advocate and you know your child the best. Any advice and insight you can give the teacher from the onset would be greatly appreciated. Also remember that you are a team, you both want what is best for your child. If your child knows that you don't support the teacher, then it can make it harder for that child to respect and trust that teacher.”   

The last piece of advice Findlay would give parents is to show gratitude. She said, “Our job is often very stressful, and something as simple as a small thank you can make your day. If you see the teacher doing something well, or you are grateful for something they are doing for your child, be sure to thank them.” 

Annette Tomlinson, a kindergarten teacher at Longview Elementary, agreed and said the “key is to be consistent in checking in with your child’s teacher. This lets the teacher know that the parent is interested in what their students is learning and that the teacher is valued as an active contributor in the growth of the child.” 

Tomlinson also emphasized the importance of trust between a parent and the teacher. Trust that they have been trained to do their job. She said, “Parents need to be open to suggestions to enrich their child’s development, both educationally and socially. None of us are perfect and we all have things to work on.” 

Good communication is a two-way street. No matter how hard one tries, if the other person isn’t willing to put forth any effort, a relationship cannot be built.

Melanie Visser, a parent of two elementary students said, “I appreciate it when the teachers respond promptly. I know we’re all busy, but it shows that they’re as concerned about my child’s education as I am. I also love it when they tell me what’s going on in the classroom or at the school. I want to be involved, I want to know.” 

Sometimes parents are aware that their child may be difficult. Holly Peterson, a mother who has had seven children go through the educational system in West Jordan, said, “Sometimes parent-teacher meetings were hard, because I knew a lot of what I would hear would be negative things. Even if you are dealing with a hard student, find at least one positive thing to bring up. I know it would have made a difference for me.” 

Debbie Spieth said the one thing that would make parent/teacher communication easier is consistency. Teachers are as unique in their teaching as they are in their communication home. 

“I wish how they communicated was consistent across the board so I always knew what to expect,” she said.