As a teacher, one of the most difficult parts of your job is working with parents. With proper communication, however, you can build bridges between the school and home and create an open line between your students' parents and yourself as the educator. Writing a letter to parents is one way to do this. If you do it properly, this is an excellent way to communicate when you cannot meet with parents face to face.
Make sure your first written contact with parents is positive. To ensure this happens, send a "welcome" letter at the beginning of the year.
Put positive communication in the letter, even if you are writing to discuss a problem. You can do this by pointing out a gain the child has made in school or some positive behavior you have witnessed recently. Even if it is difficult, you must find this positive spin, because it will make the parents more open to what you have to discuss. The general rule is "start with the good, hit them with the bad, then end on a positive note."
Address concerns in a positive manner. For instance, if you have noticed that a particular child is struggling to stay awake in class, you might say, "I have noticed that Suzie is having trouble staying awake in class. Is there something we can do to help her be more alert? I know we both agree that she needs to be alert to do her best."
Share the problem with the parents. Express your concern and desire to help. Do not place it completely on their shoulders, as they may resent this action. Show them through the letter that you want to work with them to find a solution.
Ask for a response. You can ask them to write back, sign a part of the letter or give you a call. If you do not hear from them, you should call them. Be caring, but make sure they got the communication. Remember, your goal is to work together to help their child succeed.
Sign the letter with a simple "Sincerely" and your name.
Consider mailing the letter to the parent, rather than sending it home with the student. Some students will intentionally forget to give the letter to their parents, while others will accidentally or purposely lose the letter. Sending it in the mail makes it more certain that it will be received.
Communicate regularly, and consider sending positive "praise" notes home to each child's parents throughout the year. This will help the parents be more receptive to your communication.
Never berate a child in a letter to parents. Always keep a positive tone, even if you are frustrated.