Do you ever feel as though there is a communication barrier between you and the parents of your students? As teachers, we all seem to get into our own little world, focusing in on the success of the students we teach. There is nothing wrong with this intense focus. However, it seems that teachers feel as though there is a communication breakdown between them and parents sometimes that can hinder the progress of students. My goal in this article is to give you five simple, yet direct, questions that you can ask parents that will extract the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page no matter how crazy life gets.
- What problems has your child voiced? The reason for this question is worded this way is because of two key words; problems and voiced. This is key because children really feel strongly about something when they voice it out loud and, more importantly, when they voice it multiple times.
- How can I make the homework better? There is a passive message in this question. Embedded within this question is the message of flexibility. Every student learns differently and this question shows the parent that you are willing to be flexible to the learning needs of the student. This further proves your commitment to the educational success of their child.
- Would you like to see a class? Even if a parent declines, which most will, this question voice to them that you are open to them monitoring the class. That’s right, I said “monitoring.” Even if we don’t want to admit it parents like to monitor what we do because they like to know how their children are being influenced, as they should. Therefore, by asking this question you passively tell them that you are open to them witnessing a “day-in-the-life” of your class.
- Are you clear? This direct question ensures that the parent is clear on what the student is working on. Make sure to allow the parent to know that there are only two things to clear on. Those are as follows: 1. Subject 2. Work in the subject. Example: 1. Math 2. Addition. If the parent is clear on this they will feel as though they remain having their thumb on the pulse of what their child is doing. This empowers them and strengthens your relationship with them.
- Is your child being challenged? This question is important for two reasons. The first being that if a child is not being challenged he can progress and will get bored. Second, this further shows that you are committed to the success of your students. I know I sound like a broken record with this message but, this is incredibly crucial to portray and demonstrate as a teaching leader. Your commitment to the success of your students is a message that you should be voiced to the students, parents and fellow teachers once daily, at least. Therefore, by asking this question you find another way to slip this message in and follow through on that commitment, ensuring that they continue to grow via continuously challenging them.
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