By Geri Coleman Tucker
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.
Consider meeting even before the school year starts, if possible. If your child has an IEP, give the teacher a copy of it. Share other information—like hobbies, interests and important family events—that will help your teacher get to know your child.
Share email addresses and phone numbers. Explore tips you can use when emailing with teachers and sentence starters you can use when you talk.
Arrive promptly for appointments and wrap things up within your allotted time. The teacher may have more parents and students waiting for her attention.
If you’re meeting in the classroom, look for word walls, reference charts or displays of students’ artwork or school work that you can compliment. Teachers like to see that you notice their efforts. If you’re meeting in the guidance office or other location, start things off with a positive statement, like something you’ve noticed about the teacher’s classroom or teaching style.
Demonstrating your respect for a teacher will set a good example for your child.
Whenever possible, show up for back-to-school night and other events. This demonstrates that you’re part of the school community. Try to chaperone a field trip and volunteer in other ways too.
Express appreciation for the big—and little—things the teacher does for your child. Cards, thank-you notes, even small gifts can go a long way toward building positive relationships with the teacher, school aides and other staff.
Let others know when the teacher does something special for your child. A note of appreciation shared with the principal is a nice gesture.
Being on the same page with your child’s paraprofessional can be helpful for everyone involved. Use these strategies to build your relationship.
Was your child recently evaluated—either by the school, a private clinic or independent evaluator? It’s important to share the report with your child’s teacher (if the evaluator or your lawyer, if you have one, doesn’t object). Here are suggestions on how to start.
Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today.
Kristen L. Hodnett, M.S.Ed., is a clinical professor in the department of special education at Hunter College in New York City.
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Mar 30th at 4:00 pm
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