Total Education Blog

Parent - Teacher Communication in Total Education

Friday, May 20, 2016

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.

We strongly 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

There 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.

Importance of a Positive Relationship Between Teacher and Parent

If 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

your child. 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

All 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.

But 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.

It 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.

How to Develop the Teacher Parent Relationship

People 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

Don’t 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 persists.

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.


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