The key to creating an effective parent-teacher partnership is communication. Actively communicating with parents can have long-lasting benefits for your gifted program. It will:
- foster goodwill
- improve the overall image of your program and school
- lessen your workload
- increase parent support of your efforts
Students thrive when they have the support of both their teachers and their parents. Team work has long been known to contribute to the success of any endeavor. An effective team has the best chance at succeeding when it provides a communication plan that benefits all stakeholders ~ teachers, parents and students.
What steps should teachers take to ensure success?
- Develop a plan before the start of the school year
- Communicate that plan to parents and follow through with regular updates
- Appreciate and follow-up on feedback from parents
- Utilize a variety of forms of communications
- Don’t rely solely on report cards & parent-teacher conferences
It is important that teachers take a pro-active approach to communicating with parents. The possibilities are limitless. Consider these options:
- conduct regular parent-teacher meetings at monthly/quarterly intervals
- become involved with gifted parent support groups by attending meetings or volunteering to speak at a meeting
- create a weekly email update about what your class is doing and upcoming events
- consider quarterly focus groups to crowd-source ideas for your program
Parents of gifted children can often be excellent resources for networking, volunteering, fundraising, and career guidance. Most, if not all, are college educated and may be considered assets for role-modeling, job-shadowing opportunities and as guest lecturers in your classroom.
Educators can enhance parent-teacher relations by becoming empathetic listeners and solution-oriented when approaching parental concerns. Talk honestly with parents about their children based on legitimate assessments; not on your impressions of a child’s ability. It is important to understand that asynchronous development and social-emotional issues can easily mask a child’s giftedness. Giftedness does not always equate with high achievement.
In sports, it is an oft-spoken sentiment that “the best offense is a good defense”. This, however, does not apply to a supportive and collaborative relationship between parents and teachers. It is easy to blame budget deficits and a lack of resources, but good teaching will always overcome these complaints.
Partner with parents and listen to what they have to say. Respond to their concerns and communicate with them on a regular basis. By working together, your students will soar! Isn't that what teaching is all about?