“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ? Ralph G. Nichols
When parents and families feel like they are being listened to, their support and confidence in the school and their child’s teacher soars. However, helping parents feel valued isn’t always easy. Thankfully, Trinidad, a 1st Grade Teacher, from Odessa, Texas, has happened upon a solution that not only makes parents feel valued and listened to, but helps to develop those strong connections between home and school. If you’re looking for a new way to engage with families, this might be the solution!
Parent Suggestion Box
“One super way I have found to involve parents and validate their concerns is to provide them with a Suggestion Box and index cards for recording their ideas,” Trinidad explained. “I introduce the box in the beginning of the year (although any time is the right time) and tell parents I’m providing this because I care about their input.”
“I tell parents that their observations and suggestions can remain anonymous, and I encourage them to not just share concerns, but suggestions for improvement as well,” she said. “This one little device has made parents relax and trust me. They feel as though I welcome their ideas—and I do!”
Use a shoe box covered with decorative paper or contact paper for the suggestion box. Simply cut a slot out of the lid for parents to place the suggestion cards.
Tip: Introduce the Parent Suggestion Box during Back to School or Meet the Teacher Night to set the stage for a successful year. You might also remind them of the box during conferences.
How do you make parents feel valued and listened to in your classroom? Share your thoughts with us below or on the Really Good Teachers forums!