The Communication Gap

Pursuing a career in the field of education means spending an incredible amount of time working with other people’s kids. Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, or staff member, your job is literally to care for kids as if they’re your own, but they’re not. So, when you’re able to build rapport with parents and have positive communication, it makes a world of difference. When you’re not able to do that, it causes some pretty serious issues.

Studies show that positive relationships and communication between parents and schools are a key element in student success both academically and behaviorally.   When a communication gap exists between parents and schools, the results are less than stellar. Poor communication can lead to lower rates of academic achievement, decreased motivation, and damage to a student’s self-esteem.

So what causes a communication gap between families and schools?   Several things may be occurring:

  1. Hours of Availability

When the hours of availability for parents and school employees don’t match up, it can cause a rift in communication. Maintaining contact through missed phone calls and voicemails, emails, or texts can cause miscommunications and make people feel like they’re not all that important. Connecting in person or on the phone is the best way to build important relationships.

  • Multiple Jobs

When parents or teachers have multiple jobs, it limits their hours of availability and can lead to exhaustion with nothing left to give at the end of the day. Critical communication gets pushed to the side for more important things like rest.

  • Language Barriers

In circumstances where parents and other family members don’t speak English,  a huge communications gap exists.  They are have to rely on translators or other children in the family to translate.

  • Cultural Differences

Whether parents simply feel like they don’t belong, or their belief systems impact the way men and women can interact, cultural differences come into play for many families.  These differences have a significant impact on the communications with the family.

  • Bad School Experiences

If parents had bad experiences in school growing up, this can and does affect their level of trust when it comes to school employees.  This limits or completing severs the communication link that’s critical for their kids.

  • Previous Bad News

If teachers get in the habit of only communicating with the parents when there is bad news about their child, parents tend to shy away from any level of communication with the school. 

Communications between family, students, school staff and the community is critical for the success of the student, school and community.