When you think about the most important people in your child’s life, do you consider their teacher to be one of those people? If not, you should. Your child’s teacher should be the 3rd most important person to your child after you, the parents. A teacher is with your child more than you are and will leave a lasting impression on them. By actively working on the communication with your child’s teacher, you can help make the relationship a strong and rewarding one. A positive parent-teacher relationship helps your child feel good about school and be successful in school. Here are a few tips to help you grow your relationship with your child’s teacher:
1. At the start of each school year, give your child’s teacher your email address plus work, home and cell phone numbers. Teachers are busy, email questions instead of calling to save the teacher time.
2. Go to school conferences. I can’t stress this enough. Showing up says you’re an involved parent and that you’re open and ready to discuss your child’s learning and behavior. Let the teacher know that you view your relationship as a partnership in raising your child.
3. Get involved. Volunteer in your child’s classroom or join the PTO. Being seen around the school and as a parent who participates puts you in a positive light with all school staff. In addition, it allows you to build relationships with teachers outside of discussions about your child.
4. A little gratitude never hurts! Show your child’s teacher you care and appreciate them. A small gift during the holidays and a card with a thank you note during Teacher Appreciation Week. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, it’s the sentiment and effort that counts.
5. Be respectful of the teacher’s time/schedule. Don’t burst in unannounced as you’re dropping your child off at school or try to have a lengthy discussion on the phone during the teacher’s lunch hour. A hungry teacher may be a crabby teacher. Email or call for an appointment. If you’re both relaxed, chances are the conversation will go much better.
Just remember, all relationships take time and work–especially the good ones!