Over the winter break, I decided to reread a book by Dan Pink called “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” The book focuses on the science of timing and when it is the best time to do things. One of the concepts he talks about in the book is “starts” and how important they are. In the book, he talks about how calendar starts are a good time to bring in new initiatives or revitalize old processes. Therefore, with the start of the 2020 calendar year, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the importance of building relationships in schools.
I am a strong believer in restorative practices which is based on the idea that schools are built on relationships. Therefore having strong relationships with your students and parents make everyone’s school experience more positive. Having a solid relationship with the parent community helps you create a school culture in which students and parents can feel safe and connected.
Here are some strategies that may help you build stronger relationships with your parents:
- Take some conscious time to build a relationship with your students and their parents.
- Give your students an all about me survey when they enter your class. This will provide you with background information on your students and their parents. This information can help you to inspire your students by connecting your conversations to their interests.
- Take the time to teach your parents about how you will teach their child.
- Send home updates as much a possible (ie newsletter, update emails…)! This takes time, but it builds trust and lets parents know what is happening in their child’s classroom. This will save you a lot of time in the long run as parents worry when they don’t know what is going on.
- Praise is essential; please let your parents regularly know when their child is doing something well. Parents are more willing to listen to critical feedback when they feel you are not targeting their child and only focusing on the negative.
- Phrase your emails in a way that tells parents what you can do for them. Starting with a list of things you can’t do will put parents on their back foot.
- Take sometime and listen to your parents with an empathic ear. Many times difficult parents just want someone to listen to them.