As a brand new teacher, I always felt a little awkward having parents in my classroom. Maybe it was just because I am an introvert, but something about chatting to parents made me really, really anxious!
Now that I’m a teacher-mum, I can really see why it’s so important to build positive relationships with the parents in your classroom! These parents love their little ones more than words can ever explain, so when it comes time for them to send their children off to school for the first time, I am certain that they are a big ball of nerves and just as nervous to meet you as you are them!
Today I’d like to share with you three ways to help build positive relationships with the parents in your classroom so that nobody is left feeling anxious!
1. Have an open line of communication for your parents!
Some teachers like to hand out a personalised magnet to their parents at the beginning of the year which includes their contact details. This sets a really positive tone for communication from the get go and lets your parents know they can approach you easily if they have any questions or concerns.
Setting up a time either before or after school where parents can come to talk to you in person is also a great idea! Some of my colleagues preferred parents to come for a chat after school because the mornings are always so busy settling students in for the day.
But what should you do if a parent approaches you outside of this time? Be honest! “I can see you’re really concerned about [insert problem here]. I would love to talk to you about this some more. I’m free [insert this time] – does that suit you too?” Make your parents feel heard and reassure them that the issue is important to you and that you are invested in helping them solve the problem.
2. Contact your parents to discuss positive behaviour choices.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the negative behaviours occurring in our classrooms that we forget there are so many positive things happening each and every day! There is nothing worse than a parent blocking your calls [yes that’s happened to me before!] because they are so used to hearing all of the
naughty less than wonderful things their child has been up to at school.
Solve this problem by sending home a positive behaviour postcard to different students in your class each week. I have a set that I created that you can print off and write a little note on the back to send home to parents.
These are available in my TPT store here. I would suggest printing a whole stack of them and sending one home each day. You can even use the checklist included to keep track of which cards you have sent home to which student.
I can guarantee these will be a big hit with both your students AND their parents!
3. Start a class newsletter.
Now this doesn’t have to be anything really fancy or even something you send home every week! Sending a newsletter home each month will help build positive relationships with your parents as they learn about what you get up to in the classroom. You might include any upcoming important dates or things you would love some parental help with (think art and craft afternoons or reading groups). You might even like to give some ideas of fun activities parents can do at home to support classroom learning or provide them with websites that students can use at home.
I’ve included a FREE template for a classroom newsletter that you might like to use in your classroom. I’ve made it in powerpoint and you can adjust the text yourself to suit your own class. I hope you found these tips really helpful! Building these positive relationships from the get go will ensure you and your parents feel comfortable discussing the trickier topics when and if they arrive.