Context and Background

This section positions the topic within the larger context of teacher-parent relationships. It also provides a broad strokes overview of the topic explored in the module; and offers some guiding principles that underpin the topic of the module.

Whether it is a phone call home, an update to a school website, a school council meeting, parents’ night, a system e-mail or a letter, we as teachers have opportunities to make a positive and lasting impression on our parents. Misunderstandings between teachers and parents often arise either from miscommunication or missed opportunities to communicate.

As teachers, we model a learning stance towards and for our students. This learning stance is also important to share with today’s parents. Parents can make more informed decisions about their children in school when they have high quality, clear and accurate information about the school and their child’s role in it. Parents, like any other group, can only support what they know and are aware of. It is important that parents are kept informed of significant changes made at the school, including programs, physical plant, rules and procedures, important dates, school policies and processes.

Parents and guardians want to feel that their perceptions and ideas matter and that they have a voice. They also want to feel like valued members of the school community who make meaningful contributions on an ongoing basis. As teachers, it is in our collective interests for parents and guardians to continue to develop current, contemporary understandings of school life and become informed about the most effective ways for them to provide the school community with feedback, support and assistance.

Therefore, keeping the lines of communication open with parents and erring on the side of program transparency demystifies what happens at school and helps parents stay informed in busy times. The responsibility for keeping communication lines open between home and school rests with both teachers and parents. However, as teachers, we can help parents better understand the most appropriate and effective ways to communicate with teachers and the rest of the school community.  These efforts help everyone to understand and reinforce their respective roles and responsibilities while supporting students.