Outside of the parent-child relationship, the teacher-child relationship may be one of the most important a child experiences during their formative years. Children benefit the most when all of these life-influencing adults work as a team to help them grow into the man or woman God created them to be.
Whether you get excited about the opportunity to sit down with your child’s teacher for an engaging, productive conversation; or, for whatever reason, you view those moments with trepidation, working together is a vital part of your child’s educational experience. Meeting with the teacher is a time to build a positive working relationship. After all, we are all on the same team. Our objective is to provide your child with a quality education in a nurturing environment. So, here are a few tips for building a strong working relationship.
- When meeting about a grade, download your child’s grades before the meeting. This will give you an overall picture of how your child is performing.
- Talk to your child before your meeting. What do they like about school? What do they feel they are doing well? Do they have any concerns?
- During the meeting, be an active listener. Clarify any information you find unclear.
- Share your insights with the teacher. Are there things the teacher should know about your child? Tell the teacher something your child really enjoys about their class. Share any concerns you may have.
- Be mindful of the teacher’s time. Being on time and recognizing the need for the teacher to bring closure at the end will help make their day flow more smoothly. If you need additional time, please feel free to schedule a follow up meeting.
- Bring a pencil and notepad with you. Jot down notes that will enable you to assist your child at home.
- Finally, end the meeting on a positive note. Remember, the teacher has your child’s best interest at heart.
Emails may be your choice means of communication. On the positive side, it is a convenient way to communicate quickly; however, if we do not take the time to communicate effectively, they can have unintended negative consequences. Here are some tips to get the most out of your emails.
- Avoid sending emails when you are upset. You may have a legitimate concern, but take the time to express it well.
- Begin your email with something positive. Express your appreciation for the teacher’s hard work before raising any concerns.
- Express concerns in a clear, concise manner. Avoid language that attacks the teacher or another child.
- Avoid using all capital letters, unless of course, you are expressing your gratitude.
- It is difficult to read the heart of a parent in an email, so whenever you feel the need to express a genuine concern, ask for a face-to-face meeting.
- Close by expressing your continued willingness to work side-by-side in the best interest of your child.
A closing thought: Offer teachers encouragement whenever possible. Simple notes of appreciation can go a long way. Working with your child is a privilege that we have as teachers. Our desire is to see each and every child grow in character and knowledge. Together we can achieve that goal.