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Tips for Strengthening Parent-Teacher Relationships

Tips for Strengthening Parent-Teacher Relationships

Shira Loewenstein is a veteran educator who remembers her initial struggles as a first year teacher trying to establish good relationships with parents. She offers some advice to her fellow peers on what's she learned since and how a few simple steps go a long way.

When Loewenstein first began teaching middle school, she recalls on Edutopia.org feeling awkward when having to tell children- specifically girls- that their outfits were inappropriate for fear of stepping on their parents' toes.

This feeling can happen a lot when guiding and disciplining children while their parents are away, so Loewenstein describes meaningful parent-teacher relationships as an important tool for progress in the classroom.

"I don't believe that parents and teachers are on opposite sides of the child-rearing coin. I firmly believe in the parent-school connection that lets us work in concert to help these children grow, but those awkward dress code moments always had me questioning my role," she said in the article.

In order to maintain positive and engaged relationships with parents, Loewenstein suggests making an extra effort to professionally share intentions and goals with parents to avoid being just another "school figure."

"As teachers, it's on us to connect with the parents on a more meaningful level. Share a little about yourself in a professional manner so that, instead of seeing you as just another teacher, the parents see you for who you are. Share why you became a teacher and what you hope for this year with their child," she said.

And vice versa, Loewenstein says it's important for teachers to get to know parents, as well; by getting to know family values, the teacher begins to better understand his or her students better. She says asking parents these questions will help get a feel for their family values:

  • Where do you want your child to grow this year?
  • Why did you choose this school for your child?
  • What is your biggest struggle with your child?
  • What single accomplishment of his or hers makes you the proudest?

Because teachers and parents share the child in order to develop and grow him or her into an individual, Loewenstein emphasizes the importance of establishing a strong and meaningful relationship between the two. She says by establishing this kind of relationship and remaining consistent and fair, teachers will begin to see changes in managing their classrooms for the better.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/14/2015

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