In a professional development session coffee break discussion turned to the topic of home-school communication. Most of the secondary school teachers took this to mean the growing number of social media style email messages that arrive in their inbox each day. For the primary school teachers the matter was more immediate, more in your face - sometimes literally. Dropping children off and picking them up has always offered the opportunity for regular communication between class teacher and parent in the primary phase but the coffee break stories all had the theme of that communication becoming burdensome and intrusive.
It started us thinking about what the ground rules could be, so that they could be built into a parental engagement programme. Below is the first draft and we are really interested to hear from teachers and parents (not mutually exclusive of course!) about their views on how to make the most of those contact points.
Let us know what you think @fulcrumlearning
There are a few ground rules for communication with the primary class teacher that help to make it harmonious and productive:
- Communicate the things that you are happy about. Don't make the first and only time that you speak with the teacher a complaint.
- If it's a small thing speak about it straight away. Don't let little issues build up. If your child raises something in the evening, speak with the teacher about it the next morning.
- If it's a big thing give some notice. Raising a major issue with the class teacher at the end of the school day, with other parents around and no opportunity for the class teacher to do more than hear what you say isn't going to result in the best outcome. So, give them a quick outline and ask if you can set up a time to talk privately.
- Be respectful of their time. Many teachers are in the classroom at least an hour before the school day and often for two to three hours afterwards. They use that time to plan, prepare, review, have meetings and get training. Acknowledging the pressures that their time is under goes a long way.
- Be part of the solution. A quality education needs home and school to work in partnership. If you are raising a problem have some idea of possible solutions or offer to support what the class teacher is willing to propose.