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5 tips for great communication with teachers when your child starts school

Parent reading communication from school on laptopIt’s an exciting time sending your first child to school. The start-of-term school shopping, planning school lunches, talking your child through what to expect, reflecting on what school was like for you, and endless researching into ways that make this new territory easier to navigate.

The beginning of the school year is a great time to create good habits around the ways you are involved with your child’s education. A big part of being involved as a parent is having a clear line of communication with your child’s teachers. There are a few key elements that can be combined to create a great relationship with educators.

5 tips for great communication with teachers

1. Make time to understand your school’s schedules

Take an hour out of your busy day at the start of the school year to sit and create a schedule of school communication. A lot of schools will provide parents with an idea of when planned parent-teacher evenings will be scheduled, where and how frequently newsletters will be sent out, the school term dates and so on.

Add these dates and details to your own schedule planner and take the time to understand them. It will help in keeping track of things down the line and eliminates the need for communication that is probably not necessary with your teacher all the time.

2. Provide as many contact details as possible to your school

For obvious reasons, it’s very important that your school is able to get in touch with you. Make sure you record your schools contact details in a central location that you can always access too. Multiple phone numbers are important, as are next-of-kin details.

Noting your place of work or home address is important too. Don’t forget to update these details with your school if they change.

3. Empty your child’s school bag every day – especially in the first weeks

There may be a lot of paperwork sent home with your child that they may not recognise as important.

These slips and newsletters are sent home by your child’s teacher deliberately to start the ball rolling on a structured, communicative relationship with you, as well as to inform you about important things.

4. Make technology your friend

There are so many ways technology can make all of this easier for you to keep track of. There are great apps that serve to put teachers and parents directly in touch to handle school administrative communication activities, some of which are even free.

There are websites, social media channels and even just plain texting and calling is easy enough. If your school doesn’t use any technology to keep their parents in the loop about things, I’d suggest learning about some of the options out there. Have a conversation with the schools administration team about the options available to help make the whole process of being in touch easier.

5. Consolidate all of this information into one place

It can be quite overwhelming to deal with all of this new information, administration, and paperwork. One thing I found quite helpful was to consolidate all of this information into one place.

I had a ring-binder set up with Melissa’s paperwork in it. It was separated out into various sections (general admin, classwork, events, newsletters, contact details, etc.). I would enter the new paperwork into this folder weekly to ensure it was all kept in one place.

Use your phone’s calendar to add important dates, reminders, and alerts about your child’s education schedule and activities. It’s a lot easier to lose a bit of paper than it is to lose your phone.

About Sharlene Barnes

Sharlene Barnes is an education technologist based out of Kaikoura, New Zealand. She is the founder of Skool Loop, the free parent-teacher communication app being used by more than 700 schools in New Zealand and ...

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