What Do Parents Want to Hear From Teachers?
Teachers - This is what your parents want to hear!
All parents want their children to be successful. They want their children to feel loved and appreciated by their teachers. Parents want to hear that their children have friends at school. They want their children to be safe, happy, and learning. When invited, most parents will try to support their child’s work at school. The challenge is that they don’t always know how to initiate a conversation with teachers. Parents sometimes struggle to understand where to focus their attention. Take advantage of the new calendar year and invite parents to be your partners to help their child flourish at school. This is the time to write them a letter or email to reinforce what they want and need to know.
As you gear up for the second half of the academic year, now is a great time to remind your parents (and students, too!) what the goals are for the year. You may have had the opportunity to meet and work with many of your parents already. It is always a good idea to regroup, refocus and communicate things that may have been forgotten. Too often we assume that routine itself leads to improved productivity. That is not always true. This is the perfect time of year to reinforce things you want to continue and redirect energy that may be wasted.
Each of your students has a team to support them – you the teacher, their parents and themselves.
Getting the team on the same page will help everyone to work more efficiently. It will also ensure that every student reaches their potential by the end of the year.
The fresh new year is the perfect time to share the successes of the first half of the year and invite more participation and engagement the second half. By now, you really know your students. Your gut, as well as your data, tells you where each child is in their growth for the year. Parents are interested in hearing the big picture as well as the specifics for their child. This is a great time to give them a brief recap of the year so far. Share a story or two about the group as a whole. Tell them the highlights and the challenges of this particular class.
Parents want to know about the goals for the year. Even if you have already shared this information, share it again. These can be topics from the school Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) and specific grade-level skills the child will need to master. Give them a sense about how that progress is going. Do you have any concerns?
If you have time, share each child’s data with Beginning of Year, Middle of Year and End of Year actuals and targets. Talk about the growth so far and the challenges ahead. It is critical for parents to understand if the child is on track, needing extra help, or above expectations. If they can access data online, remind them how to access it and clarify what they will see. Raw numbers and educational jargon are almost impossible for parents to interpret. Use simple language such as on target, progressing well, below grade level, not progressing.
Don’t forget science, social studies and the arts. Encourage parents to discuss at home the subjects their child will study at school. What interesting topics will you be covering this semester? These are great non-fiction topics for children to read about at home or to explore as a family. Suggest museum visits, experiments, observations and ideas for them, too. Alert them to major projects or investigations that may require parent support.
Tip: If museum visits aren't in the family's budget, most Denver area libraries offer passes to museums, Colorado State Parks, Dinosaur Ridge, Butterfly Pavillion, and Denver Zoo. Passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance. Share this great information with parents! You can also share this calendar of 2020 Denver Free Days.
Your parents can be vital partners for you, but you must equip them with focused information and ideas to try at home. Provide simple, concrete and fun ways for parents to participate and support their child’s learning. Assume that parents want to interact with their children – play games, talk about the plot of a movie, and build vocabulary at the dinner table. Remind them that their role is to keep learning fun and to call you when homework gets too stressful. Share ideas with the parents about how to make reading interesting and what educational games support math. Give the parents a suggested reading list, educational card games to play, activities to try at home, and “field trips” to support upcoming curriculum. Encourage them to go to the library and to purchase fun educational games and toys. Educational toys and games will help their children reach their potential as students, and foster a love of learning through play.
Talk about your homework plan and policy. Do you give it? Why? How much time should their child spend on homework? What kind of help should you give their child? Be as specific as you can. Homework can be very stressful for families and parents need to understand the role they should play. What should they do if their child does not understand the material? How should they help them? When and how should they communicate with you about challenges at home? What tips do you have for making learning at home more fun?
Now that you have recapped the year for them, continue to share bits of this information with them over time in your weekly email, notes and phone messages. Remember that they may need to hear the same information multiple times in order to accept your invitation to participate and process the details of your suggestions. Over time, parents will become better partners. This will make your job easier as they step up to the plate as parents engaged with the academic journey of their child.
Great Educational Games:
Spelling and Vocabulary Games:
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