Communication is the key to a child’s success in school. There must be open communication between a parent, a child and a teacher. Together all 3 people can ensure a successful education.
Many classrooms have telephones installed so communication with a teacher has gotten very easy in recent years. Please keep in mind that teacher’s have a class of 18-25 and are very busy. At the beginning of the year speak with a teacher about what time is best to call and stick to that. Make sure a teacher has the numbers a parent can be reached at during the day to keep the communication open both ways.
If it is difficult to reach a teacher through the telephone or a parent works during the day and does not have access to the phone, notes can be sent back and forth. I have seen parents send a notebook that is used specifically for this purpose. A parent or a teacher can open the notebook and see if there is any new notes written.
Important issues need to be addressed in a letter and might be best mailed into the school. Sometimes children forget or letters get lost. Address the envelope to the teacher and use the school’s address.
Parent-Teacher Conferences used to be held every 9 weeks but that seems to be a thing of the past and these conferences are held only if a teacher or parent requests it. If a teacher requests it, it is critical that the parent attends.
Communicating with the teacher in whatever form is perfectly acceptable, but the most important part is to listen as well as to speak. Be honest about the expectations, be honest about problems noted or praise given. Listen to the teachers and remember that they are the experts and can get access to resources parents can’t. If an idea is suggested don’t hesitate to grab the opportunity, it is the right of children to receive an education and to receive services needed for that education. Maybe money is an issue, or transportation…speak to the teacher about this and let them know what is needed. Teachers want to work with parents and students and are very willing to do their part.
If, however, a teacher seems to be like working with a brick wall don’t hesitate to speak to a principal, parent-resource advocate or member of the school board.
When speaking to a teacher don’t leave anything out and ask questions, value the advice they give and give input. I have sat in on many IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings where parents only nod or answer with useless “uh-huhs.” A parent does not have to hold a master’s degree to speak up at a meeting or conference.
Ask, listen, and give; a child’s education will be better for it.