By Geri Coleman Tucker
If your child misinterprets social cues or misses them altogether, he might have trouble making friends. Your child’s teacher could be a valuable asset on this front. Here are ways the teacher can help.
One way the teacher can help increase your child’s social standing is simply by showing that she enjoys being around him. That doesn’t mean treating your child as the class “pet.” Instead, the teacher can do things like laughing and chatting with your child in front of others.
The teacher can give your child leadership opportunities and coveted responsibilities. If the kids are always vying for the opportunity to hand out snacks on Fridays, you could ask the teacher to put your child in charge of this and have him pick a few kids to help.
Teachers can provide opportunities for kids to discuss their interests and opinions in class with sharing activities. For example: “Turn and tell your neighbor two things you liked about the main character” or “Find someone else in the class who would’ve been willing to move west during the gold rush.”
The teacher can foster friendships with study groups and buddy systems, pairing your child with another student who shares his interests (rather than pairing kids by academic skills).
Some teachers are trained in social skills and will lead “lunch bunches.” These lunchtime sessions are informal chats with a small group of students about social issues. A social worker or guidance counselor might lead these discussions, too. The chats can help children practice responding to things like feeling isolated during an activity or being bullied.
Teachers can reward behaviors they’d like to see more of or those that foster healthy communities in the classroom. This rewards system shows students that appropriate behavior is recognized and encouraged. It can also help a rule-breaking child become less of an outsider if the group doesn’t suffer consequences as a result of his behavior.
Creating goals for how the classroom will feel and function is key to helping all the students “belong.” Setting protocols for when things don’t go as planned for the group or between individuals will help build a community and provide a common language for students to hold one another accountable and support each other. A strong classroom community allows for individual differences and celebrates what makes each kid unique.
Developing a good relationship with your child’s teacher will make it easier for you to share concerns and work together to help your child succeed. Here are some tips for building a partnership.
You want the best for your child both at home and in school. Sometimes you and your child’s teacher may disagree—and that’s OK. But if disagreements affect your rapport, the friction could impact your child as well. These tips can help you try to improve your relationship with your child’s teacher.
Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today.
Virginia Gryta, M.S., teaches and mentors students working toward master’s degrees and certification in special education at Hunter College.
Download: 3×3 Card to Help Teachers Get to Know Your Child
5 Conversation Starters for Discussing Supports and Services With Teachers
5 Topics to Go Over With Teachers Early in the School Year
At a Glance: Anatomy of an Effective Email to Your Child’s Teacher
At a Glance: Anatomy of a School Behavior Contract
Should I Go Straight to the Principal to Get Services?
Learn how school vouchers can impact special education services and legal rights.
These free handwriting tools can help your child practice writing.
Hear from a mom who tried a simulation that finally helped her “get” her child’s struggles.
Feb 22nd at 12:00 pm
Sign up for weekly emails with helpful resources for you and your family.
This email is already subscribed to Understood newsletters. If you haven't been receiving anything, add email@example.com to your safe-senders list.
Name must have no more than 50 characters. Email address must be valid. Email message must have no more than 140 characters and cannot include the < > / \ special characters. Please fill out all fields to send a message.
Don’t worry—we saved what you wrote.
Sign up to get personalized recommendations and connect with parents and experts in our community.
Only members can view and participate in conversations.
Child’s nickname is private and only you can see it.