The following article is short and sweet and has some great tips for developing the relationship. It is from the Department of Education's blog. Did you know the Department of Education has a blog? I believe it actually has a few! It is a fantastic resource. It contains information and commentary on the education in this country. The following is the article that I am referring to in this post, but take some time to explore the site and visit it often (you know, with all that free time that you have). http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/08/tips-for-developing-a-strong-relationship-with-your-childs-teacher/
But I digress. As previously mentioned, this article has some great tips. I will talk about my favorites here, but with a caveat or two. The first tip encourages parents to keep in touch. Yes, absolutely-contact your child's teacher early and often, but it's important not to smother the teacher. School employees really want to meet the needs of all of the children and often this means communicating with parents. However, it is quite difficult to meet the needs of parents who contact the teacher multiple times a day and expect an answer within 15 minutes. This is not just true during school hours. Many teachers spend many hours before and after school preparing lessons, working with students, attending meetings, leading after school activities, and/or coaching a sports team. They are also entitled to a personal life outside of school. So ask your child's teacher the best time to contact them and the timeframe for expecting a reply. Some teachers are great about responding quickly, but for others it might take a few days. However, if you feel that you are trying to communicate something important with the teacher and he or she is not getting back to you within the agreed upon amount of time, feel free to contact the school administrator.
Reach out and stay informed are my two favorite tips. Communicating with your teacher by offering support is a GREAT way to stay in touch. Teachers often need support in several areas and offering to assist them can be so helpful. This lets the teacher know that you are not just invested in your child, but also the teacher and the entire class. It is also an important thing to model for your child-giving your time and resources to help others. I know that this one looks different for different parents and caregivers. Some people have time to give, some have money, and others feel like they have neither! Determine what you are comfortable with and communicate that with the teacher. Chances are, there is a way to support no matter your time or financial limitations.
Team up is also a great tip, but I want to take it a step further. Yes, you and the teacher are on the same team and you should absolutely form an alliance with him or her. However, there are several other people in the school building who share the same goals-helping children. So also meet and form relationships with school counselors, administrators, social workers, librarians, and of course, the school psychologist. Additionally, try to team up with other parents. One parent supporting a teacher is good, two is better, and a whole class of parents and caregivers can move mountains.
So enjoy the article and start developing that relationship! I'd love to hear your thoughts about starting this relationship and how it evolves throughout the school year. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another Back to School post! Comment below, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly. Happy School Day!