Because communication between parents and teachers is so crucial to ensuring students’ success, it is important for parents to reach out to teachers as well. Parents are often busy with their own weekly tasks and are unable to attend every event hosted by their youth’s teachers, but appearing at some of these events can be extremely helpful. In addition, parents should make time in their schedules to communicate outside of these teacher-hosted events, especially if they are unable to attend them. There are countless suggestions of how to foster healthy communication with your youth’s teachers that I have not listed, but parents should make an effort to do the following as often as possible:
1. Attend meet-and-greets and open houses
Attending these events is a great way to initiate communication between yourself and your youth’s teachers, as they can help you understand teachers’ characteristics that may or may not mesh well with those of your youth. These are also often scheduled for a time that teachers assume are after normal work hours, so they may be a convenient way for you to begin and continue acquaintances with teachers and parents.
2. Schedule routine meetings
Meeting with your youth’s teachers on a regular basis will help you stay up-to-date with how your youth is doing in school. It may be useful to pay more frequent visits to those who teach subjects that are challenging for your youth. If you are unable to fit meetings into your schedule, communicate frequently via phone, email, or another medium, as it’s important to keep tabs on what your youth is having success with and what he or she may be struggling to achieve.
If you’re having trouble finding a convenient means of communication, try doing a little research. There are several apps and new technologies that are designed specifically for parent-teacher communication that you may want to suggest to your youth’s teachers. Some teachers may already use forms of communication similar to these for maintaining contact with students or parents, and utilizing these will help you “check in” when you don’t have time to write an email or schedule a meeting.
3. Review progress reports
Teachers often send students home with progress reports or report cards. Whether these are sent home monthly or only at certain times of the year, make sure to ask your youth’s teachers for copies of the reports. If you have trouble understanding why your youth earned the grades that they received (both good and bad), follow up with teachers to learn how you can help your youth improve or continue to excel. If your youth does not receive reports, ask his or her teachers for updates often.
4. Pay attention to positive feedback
Knowing what your youth can improve upon is necessary, but you should also be aware of what they’re doing well. In addition to giving your youth advice for improvement, be sure to give praise to accentuate their success. Praise will help to motivate your youth rather than discouraging them by focusing too heavily on criticisms.
- Hope Swedeen
What are some ways that you make time to communicate with your youth's teachers? How do you balance your own schedule and your youth's?