Working with Your Child’s Teacher

Mom and Daughter on the Playground

Parents should be involved in their child’s education, but it can be challenging to know where to begin and what sort of involvement is best. As every child and every relationship is different, there is no standard answer to this, but working with your child’s teacher to effectively support her learning is a great place to start.

Establish Contact

Teachers appreciate parents who initiate contact. While your child may have one to eight teachers, those teachers have a minimum of twenty-five students. Secondary school teachers see as many as two hundred students in a day. By taking the time to send a quick email or send a note with your child, you are letting the teacher know you’re interested in your child’s progress and offering her means of contacting you should there be an issue.

Take Advantage of Meet and Greet Events

There are often many opportunities to visit with teachers in arranged events such as Open House, plays or programs, and parent/teacher organizations. These are almost always held in the evenings to accommodate working parents and if possible, you and your significant other should attend each one.

Some elementary schools invite parents to a progress meeting or conference during the day, and if possible arrange your schedule to attend. The more face-to-face time you have with your child’s teachers, the more in tune with your child’s education you’ll be.

Be a Supporter

Be the teacher’s biggest supporter when it comes to work and projects. You might not agree with an assignment or think the amount of homework is a bit excessive, and you might mention that to the teacher in a private phone call or meeting, but in front of your child you should be a cheerleader for her teacher’s efforts.

By waging battle with her teacher in front of her about anything relatively minor or even by making a comment about how silly it is to have so much homework at this age, you’re giving your child permission to make the same kind of comments. A negative attitude about school work is contagious and can taint her entire school career.

If you do disagree with a teacher or have a question about something that took place at school that day, call or email the teacher requesting information or discussion about your concern. Be polite and open to what the teacher has to say. It may be that there was a misunderstanding or it could be that your child is hiding some of the facts of the case. If you adamantly disagree with the teacher, work together to find a resolution before going above her to the principal.

Work Together

Teachers need parents to help their child continue their learning at home. Books and projects will come home to be completed and it is reasonable to expect parents to help their child stay motivated and on task to finish these assignment. If your child’s teacher has a website or posts homework online, check to see what your child needs that evening and effectively motivate her to complete the assignments.

If your child begins to struggle, meet immediately with the teacher to determine what the problem might be. If the teacher offers suggestions as to how to improve a particular skill, try the teacher’s suggestions and then try a few ideas of your own or that other teachers have suggested. By showing your commitment to your child’s education and classroom success, you’ll be making a strong ally in her teacher.

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