The relationship between parent and teacher is a crucial one. Studies show that children are most successful in school when there is support from home, so forming a good relationship with your child's teacher and school can be very beneficial. Many times, it is nothing more than miscommunication or misunderstanding, on one side or the other that keeps parents and teachers from having a successful relationship. Both parties are responsible for making the interaction positive and productive.
Parent / Teacher Tip #1: Build That Bridge!
Learn everything you can about your child's school. Ask for a school handbook, but if one is not available, ask questions. Find out about teaching methods, curriculum and teaching materials used at your child's school. Find out when PTA or PTO meetings take place and try to attend whenever possible. Making yourself knowledgeable about the school's policies and staying informed throughout the school year will make your interaction with your child's teacher more comfortable, as you will already be familiar with policies and procedures of the school.
Parent / Teacher Tip #2: Communicate Early And Often
Get acquainted with your child's teacher at the beginning of the year to show your interest. Also, tell the teacher what he/she needs to know about your child early on, especially if the child has special needs. That is something the teacher wants to know upon initially meeting and becoming familiar with the student. If there are issues outside of school that you want the teacher to know, be upfront about them, so the teacher can address any needs from the beginning of school. Reach out to the teacher whenever you have questions or concerns. Waiting for report cards may be too late, and the teacher is dealing with several students, so expecting him/her to be on top of every little issue with your child is expecting a lot.
Parent / Teacher Tip #3: Approach The Teacher With A Cooperative Attitude
You and your child's teacher are a team, and that's how you should approach concerns with your child. Don't be accusatory or defensive when discussing issues, because you both have the same goal, which is to create a successful environment in which your student can thrive. Be prepared to listen, as well as talk, because your child's teacher may have insight into the problem that you are not aware of.
Parent / Teacher Tip #4: Volunteer As Much As You Can And Attend School Events
Volunteering at your child's school is actually beneficial to everyone involved. First, it shows the teacher that you value and appreciate him/her and want to help in any way you can. It also sends the message to your child that you are interested in what he/she is doing in school, and you want to take time out of your day to observe and help in the classroom. Finally, it allows you to be aware of what is going on in a very large part of your child's life. You can observe him/her interacting with peers and participating in a learning environment.
Parent / Teacher Tip #5: Do Not Involve Your Child In Disagreements With The Teacher
Sometimes parents don't agree with a particular rule or situation that takes place in the classroom. It is completely acceptable to discuss your concern with the teacher, but do not involve the child. It can be a very awkward and uncomfortable situation for a student who is stuck in the middle of a disagreement between two people he respects and admires. Ask to speak to the teacher alone, and don't discuss the details of the conversation with the child, unless it is just to explain that you are working through an issue and everything will be fine.
Relationships with teachers are some of the most powerful that a child will experience. Creating a positive connection with the teacher is something that every parent should strive for, because it models for the child a level of respect and cooperation that will be valuable throughout life. As with any relationship, there may be differences of opinion, but working together to find common ground, and the solution that best fits the child, will create a secure environment that will help the child grow and be successful in school.