Informal is best

Getting to know parents and letting them get to know you is key to developing a good relationship

Photo of Luke Thomas
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I am a teacher. This year I have met some new parents for the first time. I would like to share three experiences with the same parent. 

1. I met Mr X for the first time as his son had been identified as among the bottom 10% in the year group for across the curriculum. This was not a great way to have a first meeting and understandably Mr X was defensive, and rightly so, I feel that earlier communication would have been better so that such a meeting was not a shock to him.

2. I then meet with him a second time informally, this was at a careers event at the school. It was an evening event for our sixth form students and he was there to talk about his career and advise interested students. I spoke informally with him in the reception lounge over a glass of wine. This is experience really helped us to form a more meaningful relationship as our conversation was not purely about his son. We spoke about our careers and got to know each other. We didn't talk for very long but he now knows a little about who is teaching his son and I know understand the home  environment that one of my pupils lives in.

3. Standard parent evening. A genuine and pleasant "how are you?" and a much more purposeful five minutes of updating Mr X about his son's progress, which was exceptional and I feel that was in part a product of a good parent teacher relationship.

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research.

Schools should try to arrange events for parents and teachers to meet informally/semi-formally. Community engagement activities are key to helping parents and teachers realise that they are part of the same team and have very similar objectives.


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Photo of Clint Heitz

Luke - If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the post and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea even more! Thank you!

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