This post is written for people who investigating their child’s school experience, as part of Journey 1: First Steps to Help Your Child. Journey 1 outlines steps for parents to follow so that they can learn about their child’s learning challenges, learning and personality profile, and what’s happening at school.
If you’re on this website, chances are that your child’s teacher has given you some sort of feedback indicating that your child is having trouble learning. This includes markups on pages and calls home. In addition, your child may be having problems with homework.
This post talks about what type of information you want to learn from your child’s teacher. It also tells you some tips for communicating with teachers.
Top Tips for Making Teacher Relationships Effective
Here are some tips from experienced parents for making teacher relationships work smoothly.
- Be friendly. Don’t overshare. Stick to just a few talking points.
- Teachers have a natural guard up against emotional parents. The minute you become emotional you lose ground. Keep emotion out of the situation, no matter what happens.
- Treat this like a job. If the teacher dresses up, do the same (a little less than she does.) If she doesn’t dress up, then be more casual, but not sloppy.
- Be respectful of the teacher’s time and space. Don’t barge into her classroom. Make appointments. At the same time, keep your eyes open. Some parents admit to showing up a bit early and looking around to see how their child is doing.
- Use very few words and concepts. Give her executive summaries. What’s the most important thing to tell her? Letters should be as short as you can get them and should only talk about one or two points. She’s busy and has many other students. Conversations should touch on one or two points.
- You can’t get everything. Remember what your top priorities are with in this class and mention those things first.
- Some experienced parents always show up with a coffee. If you do this, make it low-key.
- If the teacher uses a new technique or tries something and it works, be sure to let her know. Positive feedback is always appreciated. And of course always thank her for the time and the effort she is spending with you and your child.
What Do You Want to Know?
Here are the top five things you want to know from your child’s teacher.
- Where is my child having trouble?
You want to know which academic areas are giving your child trouble, and where the biggest difficulty lies.
- What type of trouble is my child having?
You want to know specifically what troubles the teacher is seeing. If the problem is in reading, then what skills? If the problem is with organization (this is very common, then what type of organization? Organizing their binder? Organizing their thoughts? Organizing pictures or drawings?
- What works?
Are there any situations where the problems are less? What makes my child more successful?
- How does my child’s performance differ from other children’s?
Are there any other children like my child? What are you doing to help them?
- What does the teacher think is going on?
Has she seen behavior/performance like this before? If so, what worked? Can she introduce you to any parents whose children are similar?