Parent-Teacher Communication

The Importance of Building Great Parent-Teacher Relationships

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

SCHOLASTIC:

Over your years as an educator, what do you see is the greatest change in the role of the parent?

SARAH BROWN WESSLING:

While I’m not sure that the role of the parent has changed since I’ve been teaching, I think the interpretation of that role has shifted. All parents want what’s best for their children and so many parents are working diligently to send children to school who are ready to learn. In their efforts to support children, parents must manage this tenuous line between wanting their children to succeed in school and wanting them to become learners. Ideally these two ideals intersect, but often they don’t and it’s challenging to find the balance.

 

SCHOLASTIC:

Has your own journey into parenthood changed how you interact with your students’ parents?

SARAH BROWN WESSLING:

Becoming a parent not only changed me instantly as a person, but also instantly as a teacher. As I looked at each of my babies, I understood this innate desire for them to have every opportunity. I understood how so many parents put “every opportunity” in the hands of their children’s teachers each day. I think classroom teachers must not only be effective communicators with parents, but we must also understand that we must teach parents about “why” and “how” we make the instructional decisions we do.

 

SCHOLASTIC:

Can you give an example of what you consider the most effective way of communicating with parents?

SARAH BROWN WESSLING:

While email and messaging devices (like our Web-based grade book and messenger system, as well as tools like Twitter) are great for consistent reporting and updates, I don’t think anything replaces a conversation. Whether in person or over the phone, talking is the first step to understanding.

 

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