Creating a Productive Working Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher

Many parents think no news is good news when it comes to your child’s education.  While this is often the case, it’s always a good idea to establish a productive working relationship with your child’s teacher, so if concerns arise,  they can be handled in the best interest of your child.

credits to freedigitalphotos.net

credits to freedigitalphotos.net

 

* Be proactive.

Initiate conversations with your child’s teacher.  If you pick up your child from their classroom, say hi.  Often after spending the entire day with children, the teacher is excited to share some adult conversation, but use your judgement: if it looks like the teacher has had a long day, keep it short.  “Remember that it’s not that they don’t want to talk to you, it might just not be a good time. Instead of face-to-face conversation, write a quick email to check in and find out how things are going.  Again, keep it short and to the point, and try asking a specific question you’d like to have answered.  Making the first move is a proactive way to start conversation about your child.

* Use a friendly tone.

So often tone is difficult to decipher with email.  Teachers are just like many other service professionals – they want to be acknowledged for their work in a positive manner.  Starting email or phone messages with a compliment about something they’ve done well for your child will set a positive and friendly tone to the conversation.  Avoid demands – phrase your requests with a tone of collaboration, not combat.  Teachers want to work with you to ensure success of your child, and a friendly tone helps begin the process.

* Listen to your child and their teacher.

Getting the full story involves listening to both your child and their teacher.  Children and adults interpret actions in different ways.  Honoring your child’s feelings is an important show of support, and acknowledging that the teacher might have a different point of view allows the parent to begin to see the whole picture.  Teachers, parents and children can then work together to resolve a problem or improve communication.  By valuing teachers’ professionalism, parents can teacher their children valuable lessons.

The school years can certainly be difficult for parents and children, but by working with your child’s teacher to create a positive relationship, challenges can be overcome and success can be experienced by all.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer is a middle school English, Yearbook and AVID teacher and mom to a tween and a teen. When not teaching or mothering, Jennifer enjoys writing, blogging, volunteering, traveling, skiing and reading.

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Comments

  1. says

    Having been a Primary School teacher for almost 40 years, I know how wonderful it was to work together with co-operative parents. We both want what’s best for the child and working together provides a unified front which is so important for children. it sends a message that education is important. Now, as a provider of after-school tutoring, we work in conjunction with the parent and teacher to back up the classroom program as much as we can. Working together, for the good of the child sure makes lots of sense.

  2. says

    I agree completely that building and fostering relationships are so important. The difficulty I’ve found this year is when you meet an educational professional that lacks essential people skills. It makes me desperately sad, especially when they educate such young children. I have felt very disempowered for most of this year as I try to sensitively negotiate tricky situations on behalf of my daughter.

    • says

      Yes, it is hard when people who aren’t cut out for any job-especially ones working with children-are empowered. Our children watch what we do, so I’m sure your daughter is learning lessons she will use later in life by watching how you navigate the situation. Thanks for commenting! ~Jennifer

  3. says

    I volunteer at my daughters school when ever I can. It’s not always easy as I have a toddler in toe and a job but I want to put in as much time and effort in to her learning experience and our community as I can. It’s really easy to become unattached from your little ones education and being there when you can means you pick things up from other parents and teachers and the school really values your efforts.

    • says

      You’re right-it is important to be involved in school, and teachers do appreciate the help! I tried to volunteer in my children’s elementary schools to get to know their classmates, also, it’s helped all the way through high school! Thanks for writing! ~Jennifer

  4. says

    Thank you! It’s all about relationships, isn’t it? Parent, teacher, student, administration, counselor…the expression ‘it takes a village’ really rings true for me! Thanks for commenting! ~Jennifer

  5. says

    As a teacher, thank you for providing readers with this post. Having that connection with the parents is truly important, and we appreciate the effort in reaching out to make that connection. Great tips!

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