Teachers spend almost as much time with your kid as you do, which means your child’s teachers have a big influence in his or her life. To make sure you both are working together to ensure your child’s success, you need to know how to communicate effectively with teachers. Here are some tips to help you do that.
1. Meet With the Teacher at the Beginning of the School Year
At the earliest opportunity, make an appointment to meet with your child’s new teacher. You’ll have an opportunity to see the classroom and meet your child’s teacher at Back to School Night, but scheduling a separate appointment could be a good idea. If it’s possible to do it before the school year begins, there may be fewer distractions and demands on the teacher’s time. Otherwise, try to meet briefly in the first few weeks of the school year.
It’s good to start your relationship early on a positive note. As the year goes forward, if your child has problems with schoolwork or behavior, you will already have a line of communication set up. Don’t wait until there is a problem to meet your child’s teacher!
2. Ask the Teacher for Suggestions to Help Your Child
Make sure the teacher knows that you want to be an active participant in your child’s education. Ask them what you can do to help your child, or to reinforce what’s being learned during the school day. The teacher may surprise you with ideas or tips that you weren’t familiar with.
3. Get Involved with the School
Ask your child’s teacher if they need any assistance either during or after school, depending on your schedule. Ask them if they have everything they need for their classroom. If the teacher is short in supplies, maybe you can donate some or set up a group project with other parents to raise funds for the classroom.
Other ways to get involved can include volunteering to be an assistant in the classroom, or become active with the Home & School Association.
4. Keep Up With Information from the Teacher
Kids are notorious for forgetting to give parents important school announcements, information about school projects, or homework that is supposed to be signed. Our teachers send home a weekly classroom newsletter either via hard copy or email.
Your child’s folder is also a vital communication tool from the school to the parent so be sure to check it daily when your child brings it home.
Starting in second grade your child will be recording his or her homework assignments in a planner which needs to be reviewed each day by a parent.
5. Inform Teachers About Issues at Home
Problems at home can deeply affect a child’s behavior or attention to work at school. Without background information, a teacher will only see a child whose grades are slipping or who is becoming a behavior problem in the class.
Situations like conflicts between family members, illness or death in the family, or financial problems cause stress for your kids. Even if they don’t understand the details of what is going on, if you are upset and worried, they feel it too.
Send a note, call, or email the teacher to let them know generally about the situation. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail. This will help them to understand any changes in the child’s behavior and have a plan in mind to address it if needed.
6. Keep Your Promises
Just as you want your child to learn how to follow through with commitments he or she makes, you need to do that with teachers. If you say that you will be present to help with an event, assist with a field trip, or provide snacks for an occasion, put as many reminders as you need on your calendar, refrigerator, or in your phone. There may be sudden circumstances where you can’t do as you said you would, but you want to be able to let the teacher know what is going on.
One of your jobs as a parent is to be your child’s advocate. Part of this is knowing how and when to communicate with your child’s teacher. With so many parents who don’t get involved in their kids’ education, your child’s teacher will be happy to stay in touch with someone making the effort to reach out to them! Effective communication with teachers can make a vital difference in your child’s success in school.