5 topics to go over with teachers early in the school year
Bob Cunningham, EdM
Talking with your child’s teacher early can set the stage for strong communication all year long. Here are some topics to get that conversation going.
1. What you’ve seen at home
The start of any school year puts a lot of pressure on kids who learn and think differently. After many kids spent last year doing distance or hybrid learning, starting school may
cause a lot of anxiety
. Talk with the teacher about school-related challenges you’ve had at home to get a jump on solutions. Start with something positive: “My child is really excited about your class.” Then bring up the difficulties you’ve seen.
Ask: “How can we work together to make this school year smoother for my child?”
You can also use this one-page download to update the teacher on how your child is doing.
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You may not have specific concerns. Or you may be worried about
. Either way, it’s good to talk with the teacher about academic expectations. It’s also important to talk about your child’s strengths and challenges. If you and the teacher have shared expectations, your child won’t get mixed messages.
Ask: “Are my child’s academic skills strong enough to move to the next lesson or unit? What can we work on at home to help?”
3. Classroom priorities
Some teachers focus on building strong relationships with students and their families. Some make class participation a top priority. Others prioritize teaching all of the lessons they need to cover in a school year. Getting a sense of the teacher’s priorities early on can help you talk about what that means for your child.
Ask: “What are your top three priorities this year? What would be helpful to know so I can help my child in those focus areas?”
4. Social-emotional learning
Social interaction has a big impact on kids’ school experience. It’s also a tough area for teachers to assess and address at the beginning of the year. Share your observations, concerns, and thoughts. Be specific about the interactions and experiences your child has had or been missing.
Ask: “How do you work on social-emotional learning with your students?”
5. Getting and staying organized
If your child
struggles with organization
and time management, the teacher will notice it pretty quickly. It’s also likely to be the first thing that gets in your child’s way at school. By talking it through, you can decide what you’ll each do to support your child.
Ask: “Do you think my child will be able to handle the work? Is my child missing cues you’re giving about transitions?”