“Will the teacher like my child?”
“Will she accommodate my child’s needs?”
“Will the teacher get mad if I share a concern?”
Yes, Yes and No. 😉
I’ll let you in on a secret, teachers wonder if you will like us, too. One of our greatest goals every year is good parent-teacher relationships. Because let’s face it, how we get along can make or break the school year.
So, as you settle into the new school year, I want to share a few keys for successful parent-teacher communication.
3 Keys for Successful Parent-Teacher Communication
Communication is key
While there are many practical things you can do to support the teacher, the first and foremost way is through communication. The number one rule of communication is that when you have a question, comment or concern, go to the teacher. Your child’s teacher can only address the issue if he/she knows about it.
It Takes Teamwork
Think of your child’s teacher as a partner. In a partnership, you both bring something to the table. You know your child better than anyone, so you’re going to have insights into your child’s behavior, learning abilities, social skills, medical conditions and emotional well-being that will greatly help the teacher prepare for your child’s education. I promise you can’t shock the teacher. We’ve heard it all; everything from bathroom issues to custody battles that put celebrity break ups to shame.
Your child’s teacher is a professional trained in the field of education and is personally invested in your child’s education.
From time to time, you may not agree on what is in the best interest of your child. In this case, my advice to both parents and teachers is to act, rather than react. Keep in mind that you’re both advocating for your child. While no one loves your baby the way you do, teachers do come in a close second.
When both the teacher and the parents respect and value one another’s role in this partnership, you become a team.
Respect Goes a Long Way in Good Parent-Teacher Communication
I was recently getting a massage when the therapist said, “I’m trying to figure how to talk to my son’s teacher.”
I listened as she went on to explain her concerns. Before I left my appointment, I gave her this advice:
“Definitely talk to the teacher. But, instead of writing everything out in an email (the parent wasn’t planning to do this. It was just a word of caution from someone who has been on the receiving end.), just call or send a note letting her know you’d like to schedule a time to talk. When you do have a conversation, describe the situation your son shared with you and ask for her perspective.”
Here’s why I gave her the advice I did:
- Written communication can often be misinterpreted.
- Assumptions and accusations will set your relationship off on the wrong foot. There’s always two perspectives, and it is wise for both a teacher and the parent to get both before going any further.
- Teachers have a lot of responsibilities that fill their time and really appreciate it when parents schedule a call in advance rather than dropping by.
I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable communicating with your child’s teacher.
Here’s to a successful school year!
See you in class,