Teaching Tip Tuesday – Get the Parents On Side

Last week, we discussed The 6 Key Elements that Great Teachers Possess and it was a real eye-opener for me.

I knew that I wasn’t doing enough in the way of communication between home and the school. I’d tried and tried and tried. I’d banged my head against the wall time and time again. And then I gave up.

I sometimes feel like a glorified babysitter instead of a professional. That shouldn’t be the case. I want parents to be on side and I realize the importance of it, I just wasn’t sure how to go about making it happen.

I have been brainstorming ideas ever since I read that amazing article last week and I plan on launching some of these initiatives right away.

So here are some of the things I’ve either done or have been thinking about doing.

1) First day of school calls – Call all of the parents on the first day of school and let them know how nice it was to have their child in the class.

2) Give out your phone number – I have done this for years. It lets the parents know that you are accessible and that they can call you at home. It provides a open means of communication that might not otherwise be possible. I have found that no one has abused this and I haven’t really received any prank calls or other misbehaviours.

3) Sunshine calls – Call home with good news often. I must admit that I don’t do this. I don’t celebrate the successes that happen each and every week in my class. I am going to start doing this more often. I think I will try to make at least two calls every week and keep a record of who I have called. This way I will make sure to call each parent every couple of months.

4) Monthly Newsletters – I do this one. It’s a nice tool to let the parents know what things we will be working on for the month and to celebrate some of the exciting things that happen in the classroom.

5) Student Planners – I rarely write in these books. I sometimes have the students copy down notes from the board so parents can be reminded of events or tests that are coming up. I really should try to write some positive notes about specific students in the class. I could do this by taking five minutes in the afternoon to write a note in two planners each day. This way I could work through the whole class every two weeks or so.

6) Cool Projects – We will be working on radio plays and recording them as podcasts this term. I also want the students to use computers for digital storytelling. My goal is to let each student take home a CD full of audio work that they can show off. We will have our radio plays on it as well as some of the songs we have learned in music class. They will have a second CD of computer projects to show off as well.

7) Parent / Student Exchange – I want to have an exchange type of program where the parents come in for a lesson. I could try this at night time one day and have a parent-only night. I’m not sure it would work but I’m just brainstorming here.

8) Share Your Skills – I would like to invite parents to come in and share any special skills they have with the class. We could have painters or artists come in, display their work, and give us some tips for an art lesson. Parents have lots of life skills that they could share with us if only given the chance.

Have any other ideas – If you have any proven strategies for getting the parents involved, please leave a comment and let’s build this list together.

Teachers, don’t forget to check the Table of Contents for more great Teaching Tips. And if you have one that you’d like to add, please send me an email and consider writing a guest-post.

Teachers helping teachers is what this is all about.