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An important issue facing schools in the digital age is how to model and foster respectful communication between parents and teachers.

As we continue to become more connected through technology, our primary mode of communication has shifted from face-to-face interactions to phone calls and emails. While this shift has brought many conveniences, it has also presented new challenges. Over the past months, I have received feedback from our dedicated staff members about instances where the tone and content of parent communication have left them feeling disheartened and disrespected. While I certainly understand that this may not be a blanket response to everyone, it has become more of an issue in our society and one that has been widely addressed in the media, such as in this article from earlier this year in The Age:

As the principal of this wonderful school, I feel the duty and importance in addressing this matter and emphasising the significance of respectful communication between our families and our staff.

Respect is one of our core CLERR values and one that our teachers strive to model and instil in our students. It is equally essential for parents to model this behaviour in their interactions with the school and its staff. Respectful communication is a reflection of our values at school and at home, and it sets a powerful example for our children.

To this end, this newsletter includes a copy of our Communication Charter that I would like all families to read and adhere to. In addition to our Charter, here are a few key principles to keep in mind:

  1. Patience: We understand that concerns and questions may arise and it is natural to feel passionate about your child's education. However, taking a moment to gather your thoughts before reaching out can prevent miscommunications and promote a more productive dialogue.
  2. Tone and Language: Whether in emails or phone conversations, using courteous and constructive language goes a long way in maintaining positive relationships. Remember that our educators are dedicated professionals who are committed to the success of every student.
  3. Collaboration: Approach communication as an opportunity to collaborate with the school, rather than a battleground for differences. Together, we can create the best learning environment for our children.
  4. Timeliness: While we aim to address concerns promptly, please understand that our educators have busy schedules as we all do. Allow them the time needed to provide thoughtful responses.

Our School's success is built upon a strong partnership between parents and educators, and respectful communication is the cornerstone of this partnership.

Let us remember that we do not know what the person on the other end of the email or phone call has been going through. I have found a beautiful clip that is an exemplar of this and points to another of our core values, Compassion. You can watch the clip here:

At the end of the day we all share the same goal: the wellbeing and success of our students. By fostering respectful communication, we can work together to provide them with the best possible educational experience.

Let's set a positive example for our children as we navigate the challenges of the digital world.

Michele Wakeham