The beginning of every school year is the same. Parents take their children out for new clothes and fresh school supplies. We start figuring out the new family schedule, and stock up on healthy food to pack in lunches. All of this preparation, all of this work, is to ensure our children have everything they need to be successful in school. the most important thing, though, isn’t something that we can buy. Building a good relationship with your child’s teacher is the number one key to helping your child do their best, and have a good experience at school. Here are some proven ways (they worked for me!) for creating a great relationship with your child’s teacher.
1. Ask Questions
At my daughter’s previous school, there was a daily memo that let me know everything from what my child studied, to her behavior. Her new school, while far superior than her last in many ways, updates parents periodically. Instead of being frustrated with her teachers, or remaining in the dark about what she does all day, I just ask. I don’t just ask random, “How’d she do today?” questions. I’m very specific. I might ask, “I noticed that Ayva has started requesting envelopes to send letters to friends a lot, lately. Is this something that you shared with her here at school?” Not only does it help me get the information that I need, but asking specific questions helps her teachers understand what sort of feedback I’m interested in receiving about my daughter, and now they start volunteering information before I even ask!
2. Be Realistic About Your Expectations
Yes, your child is special. Chances are, every other one of the 12 – 30 other students in your child’s class is special, too. Respect the fact that your child’s teacher is responsible for a lot of children, and giving an extended amount of individualized attention to your child just isn’t realistic. Ask questions, though, and communicate with the teacher that you want to partner with them to make sure you’re picking up the academic baton at home where they left off at school. Your child’s education can’t just be the teacher’s responsibility. Letting the teacher know that you appreciate their work, and making sure they get that you get it, is a great way to strengthen your relationship.
3. Involve Your Child in The Relationship
The most important thing that parents can do to build a strong relationship with their child’s teacher is including the child. Make sure that not only you know what is going on with your child’s educational experience but the child knows as well. When your child knows that they have a voice, and are included in decisions and conversations, that will help them to have ownership and responsibility for their progress. Schedule teacher meetings and involve your child. Make it clear to both the teacher and your child that their thoughts and opinions are important. That open communication will help to establish trust, and be the foundation for an amazing relationship.
What other tips do you have for building a relationship with your child’s teacher?
About the author: Brandi Jeter-Riley lives in Northern California with her daughter and husband (both of whom she shamelessly posts pictures all over the internet!). She is the co-founder of the Pushing Lovely writing group, and blogs at http://www.mamaknowsitall.com. Brandi is passionate about community and education, and is a champion for authenticity. Tweet her @BrandiJeter
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