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.
When your child has dyspraxia, it’s important to talk with his teacher about it. Understanding what your child struggles with allows the teacher to find ways for your child to be successful in the classroom. These tips can help guide the conversation.
It’s never easy to talk about your child’s behavior problems. But the teacher likely has seen the behavior issues before with other kids. Here are conversation starters that will help you understand the problems better.
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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