Guidelines for Parent/Teacher Communication

Communication is the key to understanding.  A good relationship between the home and the school depends upon effective communication.  If this communication is to have a favorable outcome, it must be free of obstructions that may lead to misunderstanding and deteriorating relationships. 

The following guidelines are offered for the benefit of parents and school personnel.  Appropriate behaviors and communication skills are shared in an attempt to help ensure positive relationships between parents and school personnel.  The principles of the Bible, especially Mathew 18:15-22, should govern all communication.

Guidelines for Parents:

Cooperation between parents and teachers will help provide positive educational experiences. When students perceive a spirit of mutual support and cooperation between parents and teachers, they will display a more eager attitude towards learning and achievement. Therefore, parents, you are encouraged to use the following guidelines:

  1. Contact the teacher before drawing conclusions. Make sure you understand thoroughly and get the full picture.
  2. Be sensitive to the personal needs of the teacher. Make your contact within reasonable hours by making an appointment with the teacher (never during class time, at Sabbath School or church, when a teacher is supervising students, etc.)
  3. Refrain from expressing negative opinions or judgments about a teacher in the presence of your child because this can undermine the confidence in the teacher and affects your child’s relationship with the teacher.
  4. Talk with the teacher about your problem privately. Generally, and in harmony with Matthew 18, you should talk to the teacher before speaking with the principal.
  5. Avoid informal meetings with other parents to discuss your problem because that hinders the problem solution process.
  6. Be patient. Allow some time for the resolution of the problem by the teacher, student and/or principal. Establish with the teacher a mutually agreed upon time limit to review the progress. Stay in contact.
  7. Avoid expressing personal feelings during a conference with the teacher/principal, as that tends to interfere with objectivity.
  8. Remember the teacher sees your child from a different perspective than you but wants your child to succeed as much as you do.
  9. Follow Problem-Solving Procedures if problems or issues persist.

Problem-Solving Procedures

The student is our prime concern. The following steps are offered with this in mind. It is recommended that the steps be followed in sequence.

  1. A parent/teacher conference should be held as soon as possible in order to identify the problem and isolate the facts. This first step should resolve the majority of problems. Parents should schedule an appointment with the teacher in order to not disturb the normal class schedule.
  2. A parent/teacher conference with the principal may be held if the concerns remain unresolved after the first meeting.
  3. Before further action is taken, a second parent/teacher/principal conference should be held with the problem area stated in written form. Only first hand information which is current for this year and which directly affects the individuals concerned should be considered.
  4. Any unresolved problems may then be brought before the appropriate committee of the School Board (usually the Personnel Committee or the Executive Committee of the board). It is the responsibility of the Board Chairperson and/or Principal to decide the most appropriate committee.
  5. If any of the parties involved still feel that the problem is unresolved, they may request that it be brought before the School Board. This is done by requesting in writing that the matter be placed on the School Board agenda. This usually should be done at least two weeks prior to a meeting.
  6. The Superintendent of Schools for the Hawaii Conference is a member of the School Board and the Executive Committee, and the Chairperson of the Personnel Committee. Involvement of the Superintendent and/or Conference occurs during Step #4 and Step #5 above, but not usually before the other steps have been followed.

    These Guidelines for Parent/Teacher Communication were prepared by the Office of Education of the Hawaii Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.