Cultivating Quality Communication between School and Home
I hope the school year is starting out well for your family. Each month, I will be posting a message about a topic that I hope will be of interest.
Parenting and teaching are perhaps the most challenging of all endeavors. From time to time, both parents and teachers assume the role of the other. To be successful in either role, we need accurate information to make the best decisions for our children.
Developing positive communication between parents and teachers is very important in successfully educating our students in our classrooms, school buildings and district. Here are a few general guidelines that may help when you speak with a teacher or staff member:
- Never engage in a conversation when you are emotionally elevated. Very few of us can have a rational and objective conversation when we are emotionally “charged up”.
- Don’t just “drop in”. Make an appointment in advance so that ample time can be provided to address the issue at hand.
- Try to get all of the facts first. Don’t assume that your child or another third party has provided you with all of the details. Rushing to judgement first without all the facts will make it difficult to be objective.
- When addressing issues, avoid labeling or using words that imply judgements Try to describe what you heard, saw or what was shared with you. Keep the focus on the specific issue.
- If you are meeting to discuss what a staff member has reportedly said or done, it is best to tell them the reason for the meeting. Ask the teacher or staff member to share with you their version of what happened.
- Always start at the lowest level. If the issue occurred in a classroom, start by talking with the teacher.
The following are some conversations starters:
- Could you please share with me your version of what happened?
- What did you mean when you said __________?
- Help me understand why you would say _________?
- Could my child have misunderstood what you said?
As I mentioned in my August message, the school district cannot educate our community’s children alone -- schools and families must work together to make this successful. The collaboration between home and school can only be accomplished by healthy and trusting relationships, which are accomplished by open and honest communication.
Chris Fritsch, Superintendent