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Begin the year by sending a letter or email home explaining class routines, discipline, grading procedures, and anything else you can think of. If parents are aware of how things operate from the beginning, there will not be as many questions later.
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If your school does not have an open house at the beginning of the year, try to get one started. While these can be exhausting and time consuming, it is nice for parents to be able to put a face with your name. It builds trust and establishes a parent-teacher bond from the start. An open house will also help you. While you will not remember every parent you meet, it will help you pick out parents that seem very helpful, and also the ones you might have to work a little harder with to build rapport.
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Thanks to email, technology has granted us a relatively quick and easy way to maintain effective parent teacher communication. While many teachers loathe the thought of what awaits them in their inbox, you can use email to your advantage. Make a distribution list and send out a weekly email that briefly describes what will be going on in your classroom. Parents will appreciate feeling involved. This can also help you to avoid conflicts later. If a parent claims that they have no idea what is happening in your class, you have proof that you have done your part to stay in touch.
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Phone Calls Home
Call home. Make a point to call three parents a week with positive news about their child. You can even schedule the calls when you think no one will be home.What parent would not love a message on their answering machine from their child’s teacher bragging about what a good student their child is?
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Consider using a class website to keep parents updated. Use it to announce tests, homework, upcoming field trips, and anything else you want parents to be aware of. Be careful though, before you announce the website, make sure you have the time and skills necessary to keep it updated. It is better to have no website at all than one that is a month (or several) behind.
While emails, phone calls, and websites are a lot of work initially, they establish effective parent teacher communication and create less work for you later in the year. If parents are well-informed, they will have fewer questions, which means fewer emails and phone calls to respond to. Even better, the strong parent-teacher relationships you will help build will prove invaluable to your students’ educations.