Tips for Communicating with School Personnel

Talking to school personnel can be intimidating. However, parent-teacher conferences and other meetings with school officials can actually be beneficial if they are handled in the right way. As a parent, there are some things that you can do to make talking with school official easier and more productive.

Keep the child first

It is important to keep in mind that both you and school officials share a similar goal. You both want to ensure that your child receives a quality education. So, when talking with school personnel remember to set personal feelings aside and focus on what will best benefit your child.

Remember they are only human

Yes, teachers are human. They have feelings too, and they do make mistakes. When there is a problem in the classroom or at the school, allow the school staff a chance to explain what happened. You have heard your child’s side of the story. Now, listen to the teacher’s side.  Although it may be tempting to defend your child and insult the teacher or other school staff members, don’t do it. Remember that teachers and other school officials are there to help your child.

Make a list of the important issues

Make a list of all the issues you wish to discuss with the school personnel before your meeting. This will prevent you from forgetting key topics, and it will save time. Ask the questions that you have prepared. Begin with the most important items first. Remember the teacher is working and does not have an unlimited amount of time. So, arrive on time and be as brief as possible.

Keep copies of work      

Always keep copies of your child’s work. You can keep these in folders or in a portfolio. By keeping copies of your child’s work and any notes or letters that the school has sent home, you are ensuring that you know what is going on with your child. And, this will provide you with documentation of your child’s grades and progress.

Watch your tone and body language

When talking with school personnel, watch your tone and body language. Try not to come across as angry, upset, or hostile. Try to have a positive attitude and calm demeanor even if you are unhappy about the conference or meeting.Try not to be judgmental. Again, the teacher and other members of the school staff are there to help your child. So, try to communicate your willingness to partner with school officials to help your child.

Share valuable information

Share any important information with school officials. Tell your child’s teacher how they learn best. Discuss your child’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses. It is also wise to share things about your family dynamics that can affect your child’s grades and behavior. If your family has recently experienced the death of an immediate family member or a divorce, this information should be shared with your child’s teacher or other school personnel. This can help school personnel better understand your child.

Talking with school personnel can be scary, but it is a necessity. It is important to have a positive attitude, to speak in a pleasant tone, and to be prepared.