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Having parent engagement involves having relationships with parents–which is crucial for career and technical education teachers and maintaining and increasing enrollment. No matter what level and program you teach, your parents have an influence on your current and future students because they talk to other parents. Because of this, we need to strengthen and improve our parent-teacher communication. We’ve all heard the horror stories about calling home and dealing with an uncooperative parent. While you still may have a negative experience with a very small percentage of your parent communication, there are ways to set you up for success from the beginning.
In this episode, Khristen discusses:
- Deciding what type of relationship you would like to have with parents
- Developing empathy by putting yourself in the parents’ shoes
- Being proactive with challenges and solutions
- Creating and implementing systems so that your communication is automated
Deciding What Type of Relationship You Would Like to Have With Parents
Defining your relationship with parents allows you to structure the type of communication that you have with them. This needs to be done prior to making contact so that you can then plan out what your communication will look like with those parents. There are a lot of different strategies out there to increase your parent engagement, but without defining what your relationship looks like, you may be doing a lot of busywork.
Developing Empathy by Putting Yourself in the Parents’ Shoes
What if your students were your own biological children? How would you like to interact with his/her teacher? What would you like to know immediately? Find out about your parents by asking simple questions or even having them fill out a survey about how they would prefer to be contacted.
Being Proactive with Challenges and Solutions
Anticipate what questions may arise from your parents and your students and have resources for them. If you are getting frequently asked questions, find a way to communicate home all the answers. Just like we prepare for misconceptions during our lesson planning, do the same with parents–especially with online learning. Also, be proactive and have a solution prepared before contacting parents so that you are coming to them with an answer rather than expecting them to do that.
Creating and Implementing Systems so That Your Communication is Automated
Communicating with and increasing parent engagement shouldn’t be seen as “just one more thing.” Create ways of systematizing, automating, and batching your plan so that you can make minor changes, but that most of the work is completed in a single session. What can you do once a month instead of every day? Check out this post/episode that goes over systems and routines that you can automate in your classroom.
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