You want a positive start for your child's educational path, and a big part of that is developing a good relationship and regular communication with your child’s teacher. So what’s the best way to do that? Here are five ways to get to know your teacher and develop open communication with them.
1. Respect the teacher’s space. Because disrespecting it is a fast track to irritating this important influence in your child’s life. “So arrive on time with your child and avoid walking in late, which is disruptive,” says Zoe Rankin, a Toronto-based Grade 1 teacher.
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2. Don’t go above the teacher’s head. If you have a problem with your child’s learning or something going in the classroom, deal directly with your child’s teacher first by making an in-person/phone appointment to discuss it. “Then, if after discussing the problem with them, you still feel that you need to speak with the principal, by all means do that,” suggests Rankin.
3. Communicate through the methods available. And often that includes your child’s agenda. “Check your child's agenda/communication book/homework folder daily to keep abreast of what is going on at school and see if there are any newsletters or notes from the teacher,” suggests Leigh Smith*, a Toronto-based teacher. “Use the agenda to note any questions, concerns or things the teacher should know on a particular day.”
4. Make appointments. Discussing a bullying issue at drop-off is not exactly an effective time or way to deal with a situation. “Call the school to make an appointment or have the teacher call you back when s/he has time to talk--first thing in the morning is rarely a good time to try to have more than a short discussion with a teacher because there are 20+ kids waiting to start their learning days!,” reminds Smith.
5. Listen to their suggestions. “Remember your child's teacher is a professional and that they want your child to succeed,” says Rankin. “So if they suggest that you work on something at home with your child, please do it. It’s in your child's best interest.”
6. Be visible. Volunteer in the classroom or on field trips if you can, get involved in school events or groups and above all else, attend those parent-teacher nights. “All of these are great ways to get to know the staff at the school and show your child you're interested and invested in their education,” says Smith. And if both parents can get involved somehow, even better.
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