Some parents don’t speak to the teacher at all unless there is a problem. Some others contact the teacher at the drop of a hat. Certain parents write to the teacher daily (thanks to email). So, what are the rules? Well, it’s always good to keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher, whether you like it or not.Children spend most of their time at school, and it is an environment where they should feel comfortable and we as parents should feel confident about. For this, it is essential to have a good rapport with the child’s teacher. It doesn’t mean you chat with the teacher at every drop-off and pick-up. But it does mean that you are tuned-in on what the child is up to in school. So how do you keep up, without breaking the professionalism of the ‘parent-teacher’ relationship?
Here are some tips that help.
Attend academic meetings
Be sure to attend any parent-teacher meetings about your child’s academic updates. In case the date or time don’t work for you, you can always write in to reschedule to a convenient date/ time. Most teachers are usually accommodative here. By doing this, you are doing the bare minimum, assuming that you or the teacher do not have any special concerns to address regarding the child.
If you wish to discuss a problem, it is always best to speak tot eh child’s teacher first rather than contacting any higher authority. And, make sure to pre-agree on an appointed date and time for the discussion. It is also good to give the teacher a heads up about what you want to discuss. For instance: ‘I would like to speak to you regarding the Math work and progress of Stacy’
Prepare for the meeting
Make notes about what you want to discuss. Also suggest possible solutions. In case you are unable to solve something, ask the teacher for her suggestion. Make sure to involve the teacher as well in the solution, so the child gets the same message at home and school. Most teachers have a lot of experience in solving children related issues. For instance: ‘I know Tommy’s reading needs to be uplevelled, could you suggest what we can do together to help him improve? We are already reading every night….’
Listen and understand
At the meeting make sure to listen, understand the teacher’s thoughts and also add your own. The goal is to find a common solution and not to just crib or be upset with your child’s issues. At the end of the meeting sum up what the teacher will do in class and what you can do at home. ‘Thank you! I think your idea of reading aloud in class supplemented by our repeated reading of the same text at home, would help Jim catch up soon’
Time line for next review
At the end of any meeting especially where there are issues to be discussed, make sure to plan for a review. ‘So, can I get back to you in 3 weeks to see where he stands or if things have changed?’ This shows the teacher that you are interested, involved and want to help your child.
Parenting and teaching can both be complicated, but they go hand-in-hand. Instead of bombarding the teacher with questions or challenging her methods, teaming up with her can go a long way in helping your child.