As a mother of 3 children, and having been a teacher myself for many years before having my own kids, I find it interesting to be on “the other end” ofthe parent/teacher relationship. So how does a parent build that positive relationship with teachers? Here are a few tips that I picked up along the way as both a parent and a teacher.
How to Build a Positive Relationship with Your Child’s Teacher:
- Start out right. Send an email a week or two into the school year outlining the positives you have seen from your child. Simply write something along the lines of, “I am really impressed with how Jacob came home yesterday knowing all of the planets!”. This simple step will open up lines of communication with the teacher early on, while at the same time showing the teacher that you are paying attention to what is going on at school and that you care.
- Ask the teacher what you can do to help! Is there something you can volunteer for in the classroom? Are there activities you can help organize? Are there donations you can make to optimize the room? How can you make life easier for the teacher? By offering your services and time, you are showing the teacher that you truly care about helping her have an easier year.
- Do not overwhelm the teacher! It is good to make sure your child’s teacher is well versed in everything they NEED to know about your child. But you must also give them space. It can become hard for a teacher to prepare, learn and teach your child if you are contacting them every day telling them what to do or not do. You may even be surprised when they are able to help your child in innovative ways that you never thought were possible before!
- Show appreciation. Everybody likes to know they are appreciated, and teachers are no exception. You don’t have to break the bank buying them tons of gifts. However, teachers do not get paid as much as they should, and they do not just work on your child’s education only during school hours. Most work at nights and on weekends in order to complete everything they need! So yes, it is nice to get them a little something during the holiday break and at the end of the year. It is even nicer if you have your child draw them a picture or write them a letter to show appreciation. This, of course, can be done throughout the year!
- Be prepared in case something goes wrong. In most cases, there will be something that you are unhappy with at school. You must speak up right away. Do not wait to say something, or just hope that the problem will go away on its own. Explain to the teacher that you would like to problem solve with her/him and your child all together. This way you aren’t putting all the pressure on just the teacher. If you child has certain special needs or has his/her own education plan, read this blog on how to further help: http://nspt4kids.com/therapy/start-the-school-year-out-right/ .
Tips from Teachers on How to Make The Year Successful For Your Child:
Preschool Tips | By: Mrs. Alexandra Feiger, 2-3yr old Preschool Teacher at the Jewish Community Center of Chicago
- Communication is key when sending your child to preschool. If there is something that you feel is important for us to know about your child, let us know right away. Talking with your child’s teacher about your child’s needs will help the teacher have a better understanding of who your child is and how to make sure the environment is set up in a way that will allow your child learn and feel comfortable.
- When both parents are working, it is common for babysitters to drop off or pick up the child from school. This means that you finding out how and what your child did in school that day is based on what you hear from your 2 year old or the babysitter. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough information, or you would just like to hear from the teacher yourself how your child’s day went, the best thing to do is call or email the teacher. It is never a bother for us; in fact, we encourage parents to stay updated with what their child is learning and doing in school so they can talk about it at home and participate in the child’s learning.
Elementary School Tips | By: Mrs. Jennifer Cohn, 3rd Grade Teacher at Woodland Elementary East in Gales Lake
- Teach kids to be responsible for their own actions and hold them accountable. So many parents continue to do things for their kids instead of teaching them to be in charge of themselves. I ask parents to check homework, but also to have their child do it him/herself and pack his/her backpack him/herself.
- Parents should support their kids, yet let them learn how to be a successful student on their own. They will benefit in the long run and be proud of themselves when they have accomplished their goals on their own.
Middle School Tips | By: Mrs. Suzanne Mishkin, 7th Grade Special Education Teacher at McCracken Middle School in Skokie
- Find out who your child’s advisor is before school begins. This is most often the point person for questions that are not related to a specific class, and knowing who it is will help both you and your child stay afloat of information for the whole year.
- Parents should find out how teachers post assignments and where they can see their child’s grades. This information should be given out at Back-to-School Night. If it wasn’t, just ask!
- Ask to see your child’s assignment book. Most teachers take care to have the students write assignments down in their assignment book each day, so you can learn a lot by looking.
- Let the school know immediately about any changes that could affect the child, such as changes in medication levels. It is not uncommon for children in this age group to change medication or medication dosages from time to time due to hormone changes, and any information you can give the schools would be helpful.
Finally, remember that a teacher’s success is based on your child’s success. The teacher wants the best for your child, and as long as you and the teacher are working towards the same goals and have a positive relationship, you are both bound to provide your child with a great year!