Welcoming Parents to Come and Observe
The first part of making a good impression is clear communication. Fortunately, you can cultivate a good impression before meeting the parent face-to-face. When the parent contacts you about arranging a visit, respond promptly with the vital information they need. Ask if they’ve checked with the administration office about where to sign in and whether they need to schedule the visit beforehand. Tell them where your classroom is—and if it’s moved recently, add a visual direction like “just past the gym’s front door, the big red door on the left.” Let them know where the best seat for parent visitors is located.
Acknowledge their arrival
Once parents arrive for their visit, make them feel welcome. Acknowledge them by their name (and make sure you get it). Consider your body language (giving direct eye contact and a firm handshake, speaking carefully and clearly), so you appear confident and kind. Then guide them to the seat you’ve prepared for them.
Model consistency over performance
It’s tempting to favor the parent’s child during the visit or to seem overly charismatic. While it’s good to aim for high standards, parents and students will detect when you’re performing. Focus on doing your job well but not exaggerating your regular behavior. Being a consistently good teacher, during and after parent visits, will gain you far more trust from everyone in the long run.
Note-taking has many benefits. It helps you handle parent feedback—their questions and concerns—after a visit. If you receive parents’ feedback face-to-face, taking notes shows you are attentive. It helps you remember information and tells parents you value their time. You may not be able to provide everything parents want, but note-taking shows you care without promising anything you can’t deliver.
Interacting with parents will always have its surprises. However, good preparation can make it a positive experience that benefits everyone. For more information on communicating with parents check out The Challenges of Handling Difficult Parents.
About the Author
G. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, while working as a journalist for the Fountain Valley News, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,000 articles to various publications, including Mythlore and An Unexpected Journal. Find out more about his work here.