Keeping the lines of communication open between parents and teachers is an important part of having a successful school year. While it is up to parents to help keep the communication going, there are some things that teachers can do to open the lines of communication.
There are students who display issues within the classroom early in the school year. Teachers should assume that, at some point in the year, a problem will arise. Start out by sending notes home telling the parents that the child has had an especially good day or has done something well in school. It shows the parents that you are taking notice of their child.
If a minor issue does arise, beginning any note or phone call to the parents with praise for the child in some area. Again, it helps lower the defenses of a parent as well as shows them that you care about the student enough to notice positive things as well.
When a major issue or an emergency comes up within the classroom for a particular student, call the parents right away. Do not hope or assume that the problems will de-escalate or just get better on its own.
Give the parents of your students as many ways to get ahold of you as you are comfortable with. Besides the school phone number and times when you are most likely to be able to take calls, a cell phone number and an email address are also very helpful.
Lastly, always remember to use positive and open body language when talking to parents, even over the phone. Your body language can be conveyed through your tone. Parents respond less defensively when the teachers they are talking to do the same.