May 19, 2016
Parent – Teacher Communication in Total Education
We often say that The School of Total Education is a living community. One of the ways that aliveness is engendered is through the encouragement of communication – not just between teachers and students but between teachers and parents. Deputy Principal Judy Currie was asked by one of the parent groups to talk about this recently. This is transcript of her talk.
Parent-Teacher Communication in Total Education
By Judy Currie, Deputy Principal
From an address to the parents group on 6th May, 2016.
Importance of Communication
Communication is a foundation of any relationship and we as teachers and parents are
in a relationship with the shared concern being the wellbeing and
education of your child and our student.
encourage our teachers to connect with their parents as much as they
can, so a positive relationship can develop, even a friendship, and it
is within the framework of this relationship we can do the most for our
children. “Our” children, because the school founder, Vijayadev
Yogendra’s (Vijay’s) direction to us as teachers was to treat each child
as if they are our own.
The Three Way Partnership
are three equally important partners in Total Education – students,
parents and teachers. It is essential that there is open and harmonious
communication between the three. The parts that we as teachers have
responsibility for are our relationship with the students and our
relationship with you, the parents. And you as parents have that natural
responsibility for the relationship with your child and also being open
to and participatory in a relationship with the teacher. The common
element to both sets of course is the child.
we have a good, positive relationships with each other –
parents/teachers – we can accomplish much more with the child and as
teachers, we may even be able to offer support and counsel in the
difficult task of parenting from the insights gathered in the school
setting. And as parents you can share the experience of your child with
the teacher, after all you are the real experts on
This can in turn provide the teacher with a greater understanding of the
children in their care to help guide them through the tricky times that
are part of growing up, both emotionally and academically.
When Child Experiences Difficulties
children will go through difficulties in their lives and these times
will be very challenging for you as parents and will be accompanied by
feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, frustration, despair, grief – just
about every confronting emotion is experienced by a parent to varying
extents when their child is having problems. If we as teachers are there
to share these challenging periods and offer support it really helps to
have a positive and friendly relationship already in place.
If they are going through “stuff” lets us know – we can help.
If we have a positive working relationship already the tricky times will be much more easily traveled through.
if the only time we have dealings with a teacher (and vice versa) is in
these tricky emotional times we may not have as an effective outcome
than if we had a good working relationship happening already.
is not just seeing the child through the difficult times where we need
the joint partnership. Importantly too the work both of us are putting
in on the overall growth of the children towards responsible adulthood
will only really work if we are working together moving in parallel a
direction. Teachers have good broad friendly shoulders, which are always
available when there is a solid relationship.
are different, and the degrees of comfort they feel in making these
connections vary for all sorts of reasons. Usually the guidance I give
is to encourage teachers to develop relationships with parents but here
tonight, I am encouraging the other direction as well. It doesn’t mean
dinner invitations and shared outings but more an openness to
making connections with the teacher and taking advantage of
opportunities that arise to do this.
By developing a comfortable
rapport with the teachers the questions of how much or how often should I
speak with a teacher or when, may be answered, because it becomes a
natural communication. If you are worried about something, check in and
together with the teacher you can decide whether it is something to be
concerned about or should just be left to take its natural course or
whether a little gentle unobtrusive steering is needed.
It goes without saying I am always available for that as well or to just run something by.
Worrying Doesn’t Help
worry by yourself or dwell on things – it does no good and doesn’t
progress towards an answer or solution to the issue. Yes, observe for a
little while but share your concerns, if whatever is bothering you
The bottom line for both of us is the wellbeing
and happiness of the children. They need to be settled and
content/happy in order to learn and the relationship with the teacher is
the essence of this. Care is the basis of that relationship. You as
parents are part of that.