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School: How to Develop a Relationship with Your Child’s Teacher

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One of the biggest concerns that every parent has when sending their child off to school is whether or not their child’s teacher will be a good fit. A child’s relationship with their teacher can absolutely make or break a school year, but a parent-teacher relationship is important as well. There are a few simple ways that you can ensure that this relationship runs smoothly.

How to Develop a Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

Here are four tips to improve or develop an effective relationship with teachers:

Be a Team Player

First of all, remember that you and the teacher are on the same team, with the same goal: making sure your child succeeds. Sure, there are some difficult teachers out there, but for the most part, teachers want every child to succeed. Approach the teacher with that in mind. Ask how you can help, give them information that would be helpful in getting to know your child. Whenever possible, support efforts in the classroom, whether it be chaperoning or ensuring your child does their homework.

Have an Open Mind

Secondly, be reasonable and open-minded. While your child is amazing and wonderful, they make mistakes. Before assuming your child’s version of a situation is 100% accurate, call or email and inquire. Ask for clarification before judging. Speak to a teacher the way you’d like to be spoken to in a professional situation. Give teachers a reasonable amount of time to reply to emails and phone calls.

Be Professional When Raising Concerns

If there really is a serious situation that requires further intervention, suggest meeting, and request that the teacher’s observing administrator be present. In secondary schools, and occasionally larger elementary schools, the teacher may not be observed by the principal, and reviews are often handled by another person. If you’re looking for intervention by someone in administration, this is the person you should talk with. Be specific in concerns; instead of saying, “You don’t like my child!” try explaining the issues you’ve heard about or observed. Document emails and phone calls, and above all, be respectful and willing to listen.

Say Thank You

Finally, don’t forget to say thank you. Working with students all day long is a difficult task. Many teachers help students make significant gains in their abilities during a school year and it means a lot when parents recognize that. A thank you doesn’t mean a gift, but a heartfelt note or card or better yet, a letter to the principal or school board recognizing their outstanding work with your child.

Who were your children's favorite teachers and why?

Amy Estes is a high school English teacher living in Sacramento, CA. When she's not in the classroom, you can find her in a yoga class, cheering on the San Francisco Giants or blogging at Just A Titch.

 

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

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