The importance of a strong working relationship between a child and the teacher is easy enough to understand. Keep in mind, however, that this is only half the equation. Just as important to your child’s school success is the relationship that you, as a parent, cultivate with the teacher.
You and your child’s teacher each have unique perspectives on your child and a wealth of information to share — information that can be used to help your child capitalize on strengths, overcome obstacles, and thrive in the classroom. In addition, the teacher has access to data about your child that you may not be aware of, such as scores on tests and insights into your child’s learning styles.
As a result, it is critical not only to keep an open line of communication with the teacher — but to create a solid working relationship. Here are some tips you can use to build this partnership:
If you haven’t already, meet your child’s teacher face-to-face. This meeting can set a positive tone for the entire school year. Have a conversation with the teacher to talk about your child’s strengths, interests, and weaknesses. This will help the teacher as he or she plans instruction for your child. It also sends a clear message to the teacher that you are interested and active in your child’s education.
Stay in regular contact with the teacher. You don’t have to wait for the parent-teacher conference to talk with your child’s teacher. Whether you just want to touch base, see how your child is progressing, ask a question, or voice a concern, the teacher will always welcome your call, your visit, a note, or e-mail.
If problems arise, stay objective. There may be times when your child is struggling in the classroom, is demonstrating behavior that is counterproductive to learning, or is having a problem with another student at school. When problems such as these arise, it’s important to stay calm and remember that there are always two sides to a story. The teacher and the parent are on the same team — the child’s! Get in touch with the teacher as soon as possible. Get the teacher’s perspective on the issue at hand and let the teacher know that you are interested in working together to develop a solution.
Don’t be a stranger. Visit the classroom. One of the best ways to build a parent- teacher partnership — and to show interest in your child’s learning — is to visit the classroom. While this can be difficult for working parents, even dropping by for a few minutes to “check in” with your child’s teacher will be greatly appreciated.
You are always welcome at Sandburg! When the parent and the teacher work closely together and demonstrate that they are co-responsible for each student’s education, it is the child who truly benefits!