Last week we had a parent/teacher meeting at Michael’s new school. I really like Michael’s teacher, “Mrs. C.”. Honestly, if she wasn’t as seasoned (12 year) and nice, I think that I would have even more angst about Michael’s first year of school. Once a November assessment test was mentioned, I had to literally bite my tongue. (Testing young kids is SO not my thing.) I had to bite my tongue again when she mentioned that there’s “not a lot of play time” because the “curriculum is not set up that way”. (What?! They are in Kindergarten?!) Anyway, I’m just trying to go with the flow and not be that mom (you know…the critical one who has to have everything her way). It’s hard though…
In any event, I was happy to receive the following guest post with tips regarding effective communication techniques with teachers. They are from Laura Olson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy. I’m going to try to keep them in mind as the year progresses.
Tips for Parents to Communicate More Effectively with Teachers this School Year
There are many things a parent can do to help make their child’s school year a success. As family schedules become hectic, it’s important that parents support their children by making the time to effectively communicate with their teachers. Through successful communication, children will have the support they need to thrive in school and parents will have an active role in their children’s education and activities.
“Establishing a line of communication with a child’s teacher is important to their success for the new school year,” says Laura Olson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy . “Starting a dialogue early on with the teacher also indicates a parent’s eagerness to not only become involved in their child’s education but to stay involved.”
More importantly, when parents communicate with teachers, they are more prepared to support the learning process at home by following up with their children about particular assignments or classroom developments, says Olson. This also creates an element of consistency in the child’s life, which can make it easier for him or her to relax and concentrate on learning.
For effective communications, Olson recommends parents keep the following tips in mind when approaching teachers:
• Speak Up – If something worries you about your child’s progress or the classroom environment, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns. Parents and teachers should both feel as though they can ask and answer questions comfortably.
• Keep an Open Mind – Before approaching a teacher with your thoughts, remember that what you may have heard from your child is only one side of the story. Ask the teacher to explain a situation or circumstance before presenting your case.
• Don’t Hesitate to Share – Changes in a child’s home environment, such as divorce or the arrival of a new sibling, can have a major impact on a child’s performance in school. As long as you feel comfortable doing so, share any details that you feel may be affecting your child’s mood or behavior.
• Be Prepared – Regardless of the nature of your meeting with your child’s teacher, be sure to write down any and all questions you may want to address. Doing this will ensure that you don’t forget something important that you wanted to discuss.
• Stay Up to Date – Keeping on top of homework assignments and school activities will eliminate unnecessary confusion between you and your child’s teacher. Make it a point to become familiar with the school’s preferred method of communicating these details, such as a daily homework folder or notebook.
Do you have any other tips to add?