When Communicating with Parents, Empathy is Your Most Powerful Tool
by Crystal Gammon, on May 14, 2021 11:15:00 AM
One of the most significant factors in student academic success is maintaining ongoing positive parent-teacher communication. Building relationships with parents help create strong relationships and increases parent involvement. It is essential to communicate with parents often and, sometimes, you must reach out to parents about things like unwanted behavior or a decline in student performance. When this happens, you may find that empathy is your most powerful tool.
How can you create a positive parent-teacher relationship, even when you must talk to parents about their child's academic performance or negative behavior?
- Relationship Over Rigor- Remember to start by building relationships with the entire family. Communicate often and make sure that the positive interactions outnumber all other interactions. When parents feel you care about their child, they are more likely to support you when you need them the most. Build relationships with the entire family, invite the family to volunteer in the class, or go to your student's sports games or chorus performances. They will never forget when you cheered them on!
- Show Understanding- When communicating with parents, listen and respond with understanding. Remember that all families are different, and their background and culture may influence their views on how involved they feel they should be in their child's education. This does not mean that they do not care about their child or their education. Some parents have a great deal of anxiety about school because they may have had negative experiences in their own schooling. If the family feels safe and understood, you can help ease their stress and increase parent engagement.
- Share the Fun Stuff Often- Bloomz allows you to share photos and videos so that parents can see what their children are learning in your class. When parents see their child's learning and fun in your classroom, they will be more likely to support you when you need it most.
- Give Feedback and Positive Updates as Often as Possible- Whenever possible, share feedback with parents and be honest and sympathetic. Share with your student's family how you support their child at school and help brainstorm ways to support them at home. Make sure to give positive feedback as often as possible to ensure that parents understand that you are working effortlessly to help their child succeed.
When you are communicating with parents, please remember that you are dealing with people. They have worries, fears, and anxiety in their everyday lives. They want what is best for their children, and they can be your biggest advocate. Lead with your heart and communicate with empathy, and you will build strong and powerful relationships with your students and their families.