Many of us know the importance of having family involvement in the classroom, and we also know how difficult it can be to find that connection as well. Sometimes parents (including other parenting adults like guardians and caregivers) are excited to speak with their student’s teacher or get involved with field trips and class parties, while other times it can feel like you are speaking to a brick wall. Parents – as do educators – have a lot on their hands between working a job (which may not always be the desirable nine to five), raising a family (sometimes on their own), and also practicing some self care (which is just as important for the parent as it is for the student). It is this reason that we decided to write about parent-classroom connections, because we all want parents to be involved (even the students), but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to make that connection happen.
Please keep in mind that as parents have busy lives, it is generally not manageable for all parents to be involved in the PTO or to chaperone each field trip and classroom party or for them to even make it to every 3pm parent-teacher conference. Remember, they are trying their best, even if you don’t always see it or it does not fit into the same box as every other parent you are used to working with. With that in mind, here are a few resources on how you can build better relationships with your students’ parents and guardians.
- “Building Better Relationships With Parents at the Classroom, School, and District Level” by Heather Wolpert-Gawron (Edutopia)
- “Building Parent-Teacher Relationships” by: American Federation of Teachers
- “6 strategies for partnering with families of English language learners” by Lydia Breiseth, Colorín Colorado (Understood)
- 6 Tips for Engaging the Families of English Language Learners by Louise El Yaafouri (Edutopia)
- “10 Ideas for Engaging Parents” by Edward Graham (National Education Association)
- “20 Tips for Developing Positive Relationships With Parents” by Elena Aguilar (Edutopia)
Not only is it important to try and engage with your students’ parents, guardians, and families, but it is also important to make sure you have a good understanding of who your students are. Is there anything worse than showing up for a parent-teacher conference and realizing that your child’s teacher doesn’t know the first thing about them? Understanding how upsetting this can be for the parents, but also how upsetting this can be for the educator. So here are some resources on how you can get to know your students (and their families better).
- “Let’s Chat! Getting to Know Your Students’ Families” by Brooke Brown (Minds In Bloom)
- “5 Things You Must Know About Your Students After the First Week of School” by Differentiated Teaching
- “101 Inclusive Get-to-Know-You Questions for Students” by Jenna Buckle (Panorama Education)
- “Getting to Know Your Students” by TeacherVision
- “Questionnaires for connecting with students and families” by Amanda Morin (Understood)
It is also important to show good classroom care when you are creating these connections. Every parent wants to know that their student is well cared for and is learning as much as they can while at school. Classroom care is any effort made by the educators to increase learning abilities and create a positive environment for the students. For more information on classroom care please check out the following links
- “Classroom Care” by SEL4CT
- “Building inclusive classrooms” by Center for Teaching Innovation (Cornell University)
- “Inclusive Classrooms: Getting Started” by Reading Rockets
- “Five Ways to Celebrate Your Students’ Cultures” by Lorea Martínez (Greater Good)
- “Five Ways to Support Students Affected by Trauma” by Lea Waters and Tom Brunzell (Greater Good)
- “How to Help Students Dealing with Adversity” by Patricia Jennings (Greater Good)
We hope that this information helps you build stronger relationships with your students and their parents, guardians, and caregivers this academic year!