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12 Ways to Get Along with Your Child’s Teacher
It helps the whole school year if you can get along with your child’s teacher.
Sometimes there is a strong and wonderful connection, sometimes not so much.
Use these tips to help build a positive relationship with the teacher from the start
Say good morning when you see the teacher. Say thank you at the end of the long day. It sounds simple, but just making eye contact and giving a friendly hello and good-bye immediately helps set the tone.
Have an understanding of their workload and brain space
Teachers do a lot all day long. Teachers manage academics and behaviors all day long. They are taking into account the needs and wnts of every child in their classroom while also adhereing to school and district policies. They are communicating and colloborating with colleagues. It is a lot to do in an 8 hour day. Be cognizant that while your child is (and should be) most important to you, they may not have your child at the top of their priority list all the time.
Give them credit
Although they are managing a lot, they do it well. Most teachers love kids and have some experience. They can handle lots of needs and wants at once. They understand what they are expected to do and usually do it well. Certainly share your concerns with them, but also give them the credit that whatever your child is doing or needs, they have done before.
Sometimes there is a bad apple
I’ve taught for over 10 years and I know people that are terrible at teaching. It happens. If you end up with bad apple for a teacher in a year, use these ideas to help get you through it.
Be aware of which method they use to communicate best
Some teachers reply quickly to email, some do better talking on the phone, some like to chat in person. See how they like to communicate and use that method when you need to bring something up. Usually teachers like one way better than another and they will be more quick to reply and attend to your needs if they can use a communication method that works easily for them.
Be kind and respectful
It should go without saying, but be kind to the teacher. They work hard. It is a lot to do everyday and not everyday is easy. Give them the benefit of the doubt and when you speak, even about a difficult issue, be kind and respectful.
In keeping with that theme, don’t be a jerk
Don’t be mean or hurtful. Don’t scream or yell or go crazy at them. Don’t blame them for things they are not responsible for. If something angers you, that’s okay. Things won’t always work how you want. But, before you go in screaming at the teacher or firing off a hot-headed email, take a breath. Take a few breaths. Get the information you can from your child and go in to the teacher with the intention of learning what is happening. Often, there is more to the situation than it seems. And, quite often, the teacher has good intentions. Gain understanding, advocate for your child, and help be part of a positive process.
Watch your own issues
School often brings up our own insecurities and past experiences. Do your best to identify them and not let them negatively influence how you communicate with the teacher.
Disclaimer, if a child has been abusive to your child, then take matters directly to the principal and get immediate help.
If something is concerning you, speak up and try to be objective
Not everything will go well in a year, and you may have some concerns. Do your best to bring up difficult situations with as much objectiveness as you can. Certainly you are the best advocate for your child and you are the primary source of relying information that goes home to school. But, remember that there may be more to the story than what comes home. Be matter of fact when bringing up issues to a teacher. Likely, they will have some idea of what is happening. Bringing in your insight should help (not hinder) the situation to create a conversation that improves what is happening.
Buy them gifts, give them treats
I’m just saying it’s nice and it helps. Much of the teaching day goes unnoticed. Teachers don’t really have anyone giving them a thumbs up for all the hard work they do. And, after all, they are taking care of your children every single day. A little treat or note goes a long way.
It’s hard being a parent. You are learning as you go and you never know exactly what to do. If something comes in life or in school for your child that is hard, be honest about it. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to learn something from the teacher. Even if the teacher isn’t a parent, they spend a lot of time with kids. They see behaviors, interact with families, and have a lot of experience. Be honest about what you and your child need and never be afraid to speak out and ask for help if you need it.
Do your share
School will take care of a lot of learning. But, they can’t do everything. Parents’ responsibilities don’t end when kids start school. Continue to teach your child. Help them process what has happened at school and how to navigate friends and life. Give them love and attention and one-on-one time. Be proud of who they are and fill their bucket with acceptance and kindness. Teachers notice when parents are trying hard. It matters and it makes the teacher’s life a whole lot easier.
What are ways you’ve found to get along with your child’s teacher?
Share your best tips to help build a positive relationship between parent and teacher
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