Rapport.

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Want to build an excellent rapport with your students and your student’s parents?

Sometimes it is not as easy as it looks. I would like to share some ways that I use to make it happen.

Communication, this is #1 and absolutely vital to a teacher. Communication between you and your students, you and the parents and the parents and their child.

1) Always make parents feel welcome, invite them to join your classroom to observe, at any time as long as they let you know and you do not have too many parents visiting at any one time. Address any issues, questions or comments they may have as soon as possible. (not while you are with your students).

2) At the beginning of the School year have a “Back to School” meeting, welcome and share with the parents your plans for the School year, your daily routine, how you organise field trips, etc. and that communication is vital to you and their child, (for example if Johnny is grumpy and won’t tell you why, if you knew from his parents that they were late and he missed breakfast a simple snack would do the trick and you would have a happy Johnny). Try to answer any questions or concerns they may have.

3) Set up email between you and your parents and keep them in the loop about what is happening in class and “I’d like to let you know” updates on their child. Nothing is too trivial, parents love to hear as much as you can tell them, just “Sara was so helpful today with our new class member” is huge.

If you don’t want to do email, you can have a message book system that travels with the child between home and School.

4) Listen, I mean really listen, to what a child is telling you and show empathy and compassion, and share your feelings too. It makes a child less in awe of you and they will see you as more of a partner in their School life.

5) Hold “Parent Education Meetings” gosh this sounds grand, but really isn’t. How many times has a parent asked you what the Pink Tower is and why is it important? For example have a Practical Life/Sensorial evening whereby you can explain and demonstrate the sensorial materials and answer any questions. Have a series of meeting, say once a month or every 6 weeks working your way through the Montessori Curriculum. If the parents understand how IMPORTANT it all is you are half way there!

6) Set up Observation/Teacher-Parent Conference day. Over a period of a month prepare a sign up sheet for parents to book a time where they can observe their child in class and then directly after this have a short conference on how he/she is doing with you. If this doesn’t work for you or them, have them come and observe and then set up a time for a chat at your and their earliest convenience. I do believe this silent, unobtrusive observation time is important. You will need to explain to them how they need to be there in the capacity as an observer and for them try not to interact with the children. Also please explain to the children about Parent Observations, keep everyone concerned in the loop so to speak. (The children very quickly get used to adults visitors and ignore them after initial inquisitiveness is satisfied)

7) Hold a purely social event, a get together for your class, encourage parents to meet each other and encourage the children to spend time each other outside School hours.

8) The new child? remind the children what it felt like to be new, how it felt like to not know the routine and encourage them to help the new child. Ask for a helper to mentor the new child until they feel independent in their new environment. You can do the same for the parents.

This topic is turning out to be huge! so I’ll write more in another post.

Re: You to Child. Touched on a bit in this post..more to come.

:Child to Child. Mentioned new child in this post more to come.

: Child to Parent.

I welcome you to let me know what do you think and for you to offer your thoughts on this topic, thanks .

4 Comments

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  • I had an experience at a school in which we were not allowed to speak to parents outside of our allotted conference times. Every conversation had to be written down in a child’s communication book. Even such simple conversation like, “how was your weekend?” The disconnect created by the administration between family and teacher was evident in the alarming number of complaints filed with the school. I have made it a top priority to personalize my parents’ and students’ experience in our environment. I have never worked with a happier bunch of families and teachers. There are some risks that come with such a personal relationship between school and family but the benefits outweigh them substantially.

    • sharon says:

      In my humble opinion NO way should, message books, email and such replace the very important personal communication a teacher should have between her students and their parents. A parent needs to feel as at home in your classroom/school as the children, and no information you may want to share is trivial.
      Communication is human and vital to the peace, happiness and success of any School. I agree with you in that a personal relationship and caring far outweigh any risk that familiarity may create.

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