Can you hear that sound? It’s the collective cheering of parents who know school is getting ready to start. The beginning of the school year can be a hectic time. As a former elementary school teacher, I know that all too well. I also know how stressful it can be to worry about the teacher that is going to be spending an awful lot of time with your child. Here are some tips to having a great relationship with your child’s teacher.
Don’t gossip. Going behind the teacher’s back to other teachers or parents will put everyone in an uncomfortable position. And most of the time, it will get back to the teacher, making it even harder for you to get your point across.
Do be open and honest with the teacher. If you have concerns, talk to the teacher one on one first. If a principal or counselor needs to be involved, request that you all meet together. Remember to stay positive and not be defensive.
Don’t bombard the teacher with 1,000 things on back to school night. There is no need to discuss personal matters or give the child’s medical history. Monopolizing the teacher will only make him or her more stressed.
Do give the teacher a head’s up on anything major going on in your child’s life ( ie: divorce, a death in the family, etc) with a quick phone call or stopping by before or after school. You would be surprised at how many parents don’t do this!
Do write quick notes or emails to the teacher. Email is a great way to communicate with teachers. If you do need to call your child’s teacher, call during the plan period or before or after school. If they don’t back to you right away, be patient and wait a day before calling again, but most teachers will call you as soon as they have a chance. And don’t call the teacher during school to ask them out on a date (uh… THAT’S another story for another day).
Remember to read all notes sent home and sign homework folders/agendas/etc. every night. Make sure your child is prepared with the necessary supplies and that they have what they need for field trips, etc. I cannot tell you how many times I was called by parents the morning of a major activity to ask what the child needed.
If you have time, volunteer! It might give you a unique perspective into what the teacher is dealing with on a daily basis. Also, if you like something that the teacher did, let him or her know!
Remember, too, that chances are your child is not perfect. They will probably misbehave or forget to turn work in from time to time. And there is a good chance they will, uh, “embellish” on what goes on during the school day. I always told parents, “If you don’t believe everything they say about ME, I won’t believe everything they say about YOU.”
Teachers are there to be a ‘co-worker’ of sorts. They have the best interest of your child at heart…but are trying to get twenty kiddos to get along all day, everyday, too! You should always feel welcome in your child’s school. Have a positive outlook on school and learning and be a good example to your kids. If you make an effort to get along with your child’s teacher, chances are they will too.
Amy Bellgardt is a wife, mom, lifestyle & travel blogger, foodie, social media strategist, nerd, coffee drinker and founder of Mom Spark. Amy also manages Mom Spark Media, a social media marketing agency.