Developing an ongoing rapport with your children’s teachers is a terrific way to not only keep on top of their academic progress, but also to head off any small problems that your child may have at school before they become big problems. Although teachers are busy, they welcome input and involvement from parents. You can improve communication with your child’s teacher by taking a few simple steps:
Take the Initiative
Many schools offer an introduction meeting evening at the beginning of the school year. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and express your interest in developing an open-door policy. Be sure that the teacher knows that you look forward to communicating with her throughout the school year. If your child’s school does not currently host such an evening, it may be worth the effort to take charge of organising one.
Be sure that your child’s teacher can always reach you. Make not only your home phone number available, but also your work and mobile phone numbers as well as your email address. Make it clear that when it comes to matters of your child’s education and well being, you are always available.
Become a Joiner
If your child’s school sponsors a parent/teacher organisation (most do), be sure to join and make every effort to be an active participant. Attending meetings as well as other school sponsored events offers you the opportunity to develop good relationships with members of the school staff. Make it a point to go to parent/teacher conferences, school open houses, and other events as they become available. If you have the time, volunteer to help out in your child’s classroom every now and then. Depending on your schedule and capabilities, you could help with classroom parties, special projects, or fundraisers.
Show Your Appreciation
Teachers take on many responsibilities, from overseeing the educational needs of children to providing an example of fairness and compassion for them. Be sure that your child’s teacher knows how much you respect and appreciate all that is done for your child. Teaching is an important, but often undervalued vocation; letting your children’s teachers know that their efforts do not go unnoticed can mean a lot.
A Valuable Partner
Teachers spend many hours each week helping children to advance, both academically and socially. Because of this, a teacher can often offer insight on a child’s progress that parents may not otherwise have. Take advantage of this objective observation and use the information that your children’s teachers provide to help your children develop their unique talents to the fullest. Typically, parents do not get to observe their children in an organised learning environment, but teachers will happily confer with interested parents about their individual situation. Let teachers know that you welcome and appreciate their input.
Although most schools offer regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences several times a year, it’s a good idea to keep in touch informally between meetings. If you have a question, you can always send a quick note to the teacher, either by email or by simply asking your child to deliver it during class. If you have concerns regarding your child’s studies, or even their behaviour, it can be helpful to request a meeting with the teacher. There is no need to wait until the next school sponsored event if you are worried, your child’s teacher is only a phone call away – taking the time to get involved in your child’s school sends the message to your child that you value education.