A foundation for a strong partnership is communication. While I have seen many teachers work to establish lines of communication, sometimes it is easily forgotten the impact our words may have on students and parents. It’s a very rare occasion when a teacher doesn’t have a student’s best interest in mind when communicating, but when we get too caught up in meeting compliance requirements, we can lose touch with which parts of the message are truly the most impactful to the child’s life … including life beyond school.
Any time we communicate with a parent we are either building or tearing down the relationship. Even when something difficult must be communicated, it can be done without passing judgement and maintaining high expectations. We have to understand the impact of our words. In all situations, we must carefully consider whether our words might harm or heal.
The term “reality police” sometimes comes to mind when I think about teacher to parent communication. Certainly our school accountability system can make it very challenging to stop focusing on a child’s deficits; but as educators we need to be so careful that our communication is rooted in high expectations.