Teachers, parents, and students alike anxiously anticipate the first week of school with some trepidation and excitement. As a parent and elementary teacher, I understand the issues that arise at home and in the classroom. School is such an important part of our children’s lives and we want them to have the best experience possible. One way to facilitate that is to cultivate a relationship with your teacher. Here are some helpful strategies to develop a positive relationship with your child’s teacher.
- Stay in contact! Many teachers have weekly updates they send home. Check your child’s homework folder daily so you stay up to date on the current events of the classroom and read any messages your teacher may have sent you. Remember, teachers have an entire classroom of parents they must communicate with. Also, make it simple and easy for them to get in contact by keeping your phone number and email updated throughout the school year.
- Schedule meetings in advance. Ask when the best time to contact the teacher is. Don’t call during the middle of the day to talk about your student, while his or her teacher is currently teaching them. (Yes, imagine 25 first graders, unsupervised, as the teacher is on the phone…chaos!) Teachers also have weekly staff and student meetings on a regular basis. It is best to schedule ahead of time, if you have a concern you would like to discuss.
- Volunteer or donate items to the classroom. If you have the time, ask your teacher if she needs a volunteer once a week. Keep in mind, if you do volunteer, you need to arrive at the scheduled time. Teachers must prepare for parent volunteers just as they would for any other activity with the class. If you say you are going to be there, then make sure you show up. If you are unable to volunteer, donated classroom items are always appreciated. Teachers always purchase classroom items on their own dime so ask what you may contribute. Some basic items are tissues, baby wipes, construction paper, pencils, erasers, and crayons. If you really want to impress your teacher, ask them what brand, size or type they would prefer. Guaranteed homerun!
- Don’t talk about teachers negatively in front of your child. Everyone has different styles and personalities. If you find that a teacher is not a favorite that year, don’t advertise that to your student. It will ultimately undermine their learning. Rather, schedule a meeting with that teacher to explain your concerns and find a happy medium that satisfies both of you. Remember….it’s just one school year; onward and forward to the next.
- Develop a partnership with your teacher. Remember that they want the best for your student as much as you do. They entered this profession because they care about students and their progress. Use your knowledge as a parent to help your child’s teacher understand the best ways to help your child, and listen to the teacher’s strategies and suggestions too.
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.