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How to Be Proactive With Parents

Whether it’s because of a behavioral issue or academic challenge, looking to parents for partnership and council is crucial in solving problems in your classroom.
parent with student
Published: October 23, 2017

It’s hard to remember sometimes, but you’re not the only adult in a child’s academic life.

Whether it’s because of a behavioral issue or academic challenge, looking to parents for partnership and council is crucial in solving problems in your classroom. Sometimes the parent will agree with your plan of action, sometimes they won’t, but being proactive will increase the chance of working together to find a solution.

Make your student’s parent your partner with the following tips:

Call Before You Need To

Call parents at the beginning of the school year and give a good first introduction. I try to call all of my students’ parents within the first month of school to introduce myself and tell them about myself.

Some parents may be confused by an introductory call. Explain that you want to be their partner throughout the school year in order to provide the best experience for their child and establish open lines of communication moving forward.

Share Good News

The first time you contact a parent shouldn’t be to tell them their child did something wrong. When you contact the parents at the beginning of the year, tell them something their child is doing right. It can be something as simple as their child’s enthusiasm to learn, or that they draw really well or consistently the first student to take out their notebook and pencil.

Show You Care

The fact that you’re contacting them is a good start, but reinforce the fact that you care about their child’s success by telling them about the classroom environment you’re trying to build for your students. Do you stress creativity in your classroom? Inclusivity? Transparency? This is the perfect time to tell them. It will show just how much thought and intention you put behind your classroom.

Also encourage them to contact you with any questions or concerns. This goes back to the partnership you want to build—the communication should be a two-way street.

Ask Questions

During this initial conversation, prompt the parent to share things about their child. The parent will learn very early on that you care about their child, and want what’s best for them.

Prepare a short list of questions for each parent to run through. Some example questions can include:

  • What kind of learner is your child? Visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic?
  • What do you think are your child’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in the classroom?
  • What do you hope your child will achieve by the end of the year?
  • Do you have any concerns about your child in school?

If you’re able to build a rapport with the parent, it will be much easier to have conversations when something goes wrong, and you’ll have a partner in making your students’ experience the best it can be.

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.