Getting to Know You — For Parents and Teachers
Maybe your children have started back-to-school and if they have not yet, it’s likely you are in the process of getting ready. Either way, over the coming weeks, families and schools will be focused on relationships. Introductions will be made. Students will meet teachers. Students will meet and greet one another. And hopefully, parents will also get the chance to meet their children’s teachers. These relationships are not just a “nicety.” They serve as the firm foundation on which students build their learning over the coming year. They add to our sense of safety and care.
Research shows clearly that students whose parents are involved in supporting learning at home and are engaged in their school community have more consistent attendance, better social skills, and higher grade point averages and test scores than those children without involved parents.1 Indeed the best predictor of students’ academic achievement is parental involvement.
Trusting relationships – which are essential to learning – are not built with one greeting although that can be a great beginning. They require multiple interactions and connections. They also require an individual or personal connection. Yet teachers and families are busy. So how can we make those essential connections at the beginning of the school year and build upon them throughout the coming months?
With that question in mind, I put together a few easy-to-use handouts. The first is for families to share with their teacher.
Why not be the one who reaches out first to learn about your teacher? Certainly, we, as parents, are curious, excited, or even nervous about who our child’s teacher is and how he or she will conduct classes. Here’s a great start. Place this in your child’s return-to-school folder or hand it to your child’s new teacher at drop-off time. Parents – here it is in a printable format!
Parents, why not include one about your family with all of your strengths and information completed when you ask them to fill out one for you? Teachers and Educators, you likely already have a plan to introduce yourself to parents. But why not help them get to know you a little better in this easy way? In particular, this handout gives you the chance to highlight your top strength so that parents have the chance to appreciate you and the gifts you bring to your classroom from the very start! Teachers – here is a printable version especially for you to use!
These can become the building blocks of a caring school community. Even if these tools aren’t right for you, how will get to know your child’s teacher this year? Here’s to learning about and understanding the individual strengths of teachers, students, and parents to establish caring relationships for a productive and joyful year of learning!
Henderson, A.T., Mapp, K.L., Johnson, V.R., & Davies, D. (2007). Beyond the bake sale: The essential guide to family-school partnerships. NY: The New York Press.