Building a positive relationship with your child’s teacher should not be a difficult feat. As both a teacher and a mom, I have learned that both participants in this relationship have the same objective, the success of your child. There will always be exceptions to this rule, but in that case, sometimes having the “best” possible relationship is the best you can do. Let’s stay focused for now on the majority of parent teacher relationships.
As with any good partnership, there needs to be mutual respect. One way to make sure that this is the foundation of the relationship you have with your child’s teacher is to imagine yourself in his or her place. What can you do and how can you help, foster a connection that will benefit everyone involved?
1. Respect the incredible responsibility a teacher faces each day. Do not seek an individual conference about your child during the morning as children are entering the room or during dismissal when it is necessary to insure the safety of each child.
2. See if there is a way in which you can assist in the class. Many parents work and cannot physically be there to help, but can you send in snacks, attend a field trip, organize class party needs by creating a phone chain.
3. Be considerate of the teacher’s time at home. If you have been given access to a phone number do not abuse the privilege. Use it only in the case of a true emergency involving your child.
4. If there is a conflict in school. Do not approach your child’s teacher with hostility as if you already know all there is to know about a particular situation.
Teachers will greatly appreciate the consideration you show them and they are most likely to do the same for you. No one wants the negativity that comes with a stressful relationship. When you meet with your child’s teacher for parent conferences or a scheduled appointment it is a wonderful time for each of you to share information about the child. In my experience, on both sides, these meetings can be both productive and a great opportunity to connect and learn more about each other. You will very likely discover that your child’s teacher and you have more in common than you expected. Hardworking, family responsibilities, fatigue, ups and downs, are all part of the scenario you both face.
If, as I mentioned earlier, you absolutely get nowhere after trying all avenues it may be necessary to bring in a third party. Someone can mediate the situation and try and secure a relationship that you are all comfortable in implementing. Again, this is not usually the case. Approach your child’s teacher as you would anyone you want a positive relationship with and I have no doubt it will form a bond that is beneficial to all involved, most importantly, your child.