As the school year begins it’s easy to think you’re working alone with your class with exclusive responsibility for what the children will learn this year. But their education is influenced by many parties.
Meeting with parents and guardians as a group early in the school year serves several purposes. You can introduce yourself to them, respond to questions parents and guardians have, find out about talents and skills they are willing to share with the class, and outline different ways parents and guardians can make contact during the year (via notes, e-mails, phone, text, or in person) with information or a concern about their child.
The meeting I’m describing differs from the parent-teacher meeting about individual children which is a feature in all schools. Some teachers and schools offer an additional introductory group meeting to parents at the start of the year.
The meeting enables you to convey to parents your competence and approachability. This goes a long way towards reassuring parents and guardians that their child’s education is in good hands.
A typical agenda for such a meeting will include a description and explanation of the approach you take to teaching each curriculum subject including reading, spellings, and tables.
You could also discuss your approaches to homework, to discipline/behaviour, to correcting children’s work, to assessment, to using technology in teaching, and to how differences among children are accommodated in the class. School policies that relate to your work with the children (e.g. about healthy eating or about celebrating or distributing birthday party invitations) may also be covered.
Some parents and guardians may appreciate suggestions about what they can do at home to complement your teaching. You may seek the support of parents/guardians for activities such as nature walks or field trips.
Parents and guardians may ask general questions they have about your teaching.
Such a meeting reminds you that you are not alone in your work with and for the children.