It’s important for teachers to show students and parents or guardians that they care. If you look back at your education as a child, what you probably remember most is how your teacher made you feel. In 2013, Canadian educator Lori Gard wrote a popular piece for Huffpost where she said, “At the end of the day most students won’t remember what amazing lesson plans you’ve created. They won’t remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows. But they will remember you. Your kindness. Your empathy. Your care and concern” (Gard, 2014).
Whether a teacher inspired you to feel excitement for a subject matter or gain confidence with a new skill, establishing and maintaining a caring relationship is essential for a productive learning environment.
A teacher who cares can create a positive experience for students who may have challenges with learning or be experiencing a difficult home life. By showing students and parents that you care, you help build a trusting relationship where students can be socially and academically successful. Read on for some easy ways that you can show your students and parents that you care.
Get to know your students and parents
Become acquainted with your students and caregivers. It’s important to ask questions and listen. Learn about their interests, hobbies, and activities they are involved with. Parents and guardians know a lot about their child and that can help offer some insight to help your student. Developing an understanding of your student’s educational strengths and challenges will assist you with helping them improve academically. Open up the lines of communication so that it’s not just a one-way street.
- Hold regular office hours where students can ask questions, talk about challenges, or just say hello. Invite caregivers to your office hours so that they can have a time to discuss their child. Zoom is a great tool so that you can have face-to-face interaction with students and parents.
- Send weekly emails that summarize what your students did and what’s ahead. Ask parents for feedback or to submit any questions they might have regarding their child’s learning.
- At the beginning of the school year, send parents or guardians a “getting to know your child” questionnaire. Ask about hobbies, interests, siblings, learning styles, etc.
Have multiple points of positive contact with parents throughout the year
To help build positive and caring relationships, touch base regularly with parents. Depending on your class size, either touch base by phone or e-mail throughout the school year. As you get to know your students, you can identify those who may need a positive phone call home to encourage them. Share academic and personal achievements their child has accomplished in the classroom.
If you need to contact a parent regarding any concerns within the classroom, always lead with something about positive performance first. Every child has a positive story to share, whether they’ve excelled in a subject or have demonstrated excellent character traits with helping their fellow students. Starting out on a positive note allows the conversation to flow into any areas that need to be addressed so that both the parents and you are on the same page to support the student and help them improve.
Ask for feedback
By asking for feedback, you are showing students and caregivers that you value their opinions and experiences. Asking students their views on subjects allows them to develop trust with you. This helps create a culture where they will feel safe asking questions, which will help nurture a student’s academic growth.
Distributing surveys to parents allows you an opportunity to assess the abilities their children have. You can also learn what type of skills the parents have that might relate to your curriculum. Invite them into the classroom to share their talents with your students.
Tell your students and parents that you’re grateful
While it’s important to find ways to show your appreciation, sometimes showing gratitude is as simple as just saying, “thank you.” Whether it’s sharing your thanks verbally or through written communication like in an e-mail or newsletter, it’s important to acknowledge what students and parents do to help your class and how it’s positively impacting the learning experience.
It’s your turn!
Do you have any ideas that you can share with our cadre of educators to help them make meaningful connections with students and parents? Comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Gard, L. (2014, August 26). What Students Remember Most About Teachers. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lori-gard/students_b_4422603.html