Parent-Student-Teacher. It Doesn't Have To Be the Bermuda Triangle!

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Your child’s teacher may be the second most important person in their life, after their parents.  Do you remember your feelings about your teachers?  There may have been awe, respect, fear, and love.  But what is universal is that there were strong feelings – it is a significant relationship.  Experts say that the teacher has the most impact on a child’s learning success. The parent-teacher partnership can contribute to the likelihood that the impact will be positive. So, what can we, as parents do to foster trust and cooperation?

Three Tips to Encourage a Positive Parent-Teacher Partnership

Tip #1  Show your respect for the teacher – their skills, dedication, and time.

Don’t wait until there is a problem to communicate with your child’s teacher.  Take advantage of orientation opportunities and schedule a one-on-one meeting at the beginning of school.  Recognize that your teacher has a life, outside of the classroom and ask what are convenient times for meetings.  How often should you meet with your child’s teacher?  That depends on the age of your child, their personality and comfort level with school and the teacher.  In a smooth situation, with no concerns, experts advice contact, no less frequently than every 4 to 6 weeks.

As a parent, provide the teacher with positive feedback.  Let them know you appreciate them and the job their doing.  Then if a problem does arise, you will already have a foundation of respect.

Tip #2  Make the most of parent-teacher meetings

Prepare for a meeting with your child’s teacher as you would for a business meeting.  Think about an agenda – what items do you want to discuss and make sure to cover in your conversation?  What issues are topics are most important?  Use examples and specific information to avoid generalizations.  Ask concise questions.  Usually your time is limited and it’s helpful if you can clearly state your opinions.

Tip #3  Listen!

Listen to your child and listen to your child’s teacher.  Ask for their feedback and suggestions.  This may be your first child or your 10th, but this is your teacher’s 30th or possibly 600th!  Teachers, with rare exception, love children and want them to be successful.  Tap into their wealth of knowledge and experience. Ask your child for their feedback and suggestions, as well.  Ask your child open ended questions, listen and respond to their answers.  Your child may be able to provide you with the key to their success in school.  There are different ways that children learn, try to find the way that is most effective for your child – what works and what doesn’t.

Five Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher

1.  What are some family activities and discussions that will support what my child is learning in school?

2.  Can you tell me about my child’s social skills?  Is there anything I, as a parent, can do to help him/her have a successful social experience with their classmates?

3.  What are my child’s favorite activities?  What are his/her strengths?  Does he/she have a learning style that is most effective?

4.  Do you have any concerns or are there any issues we should be aware of?  Are there any specific areas we can work on?

5.  What can I do to help you?

Calling all parents!  Do you have any more suggestions?

Calling all teachers!  Do you have any advice for parents?

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