Would it surprise you to know that as a teacher, I hold a master's degree, yet get paid less than my husband who did not graduate from college? Would it also surprise you that I don’t know one teacher who does this job for the paycheck?
Teachers teach because they admire kids.
However, if teachers could change one thing about their jobs, it would be communication between teachers and parents. Positive, frequent, and clear communication with your child’s teacher is the key to a student’s emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being.
If your student has a specific learning, emotional or physical condition, don’t hesitate to communicate that to your child’s new teacher. Even if you have contacted the school nurse, communicate directly with your child’s teacher or teachers to ensure everyone gets the message. Being open and upfront at the beginning of the school year will form an important and positive foundation.
As the school year progresses, homework, grades, and social issues can occur that may only be resolved if parents and teachers are working together and communicating effectively. Parents can remember two things: the teacher is on the side of the student, and communicate as soon as there is a problem!
Sam Horn’s website has some excellent strategies in communicating effectively with teachers so that they understand a parent’s concerns and can be open to requests regarding a student. For instance, if a child brings home a failing grade on a report card, try "can we talk" or "in the future" when contacting the teacher.
Requesting to talk with the teacher about the grade doesn’t place blame and keeps the conversation open and positive. "In the future" politely alerts the teacher that things could be handled differently next time so that there isn't another surprise at report card time.
If there is a social issue, Horn recommends using "we" to automatically put parents and teachers on the same side. Asking the teacher, “What else can we do to resolve this problem?” will likely lead to a solution from the teacher that is beneficial to everyone.
The key is communication, whether it is emails, phone calls, or meetings in person. Students do better in school when parents are involved in their child’s education. Remember, too, that good teachers are concerned and wish to work with parents so students are happy, healthy, and learning.
Disney Family. How To Talk To Your Child’s Teacher. Web. 12, Oct. 2011.
Sam Horn. How Can I Talk To My Child’s Teacher? Web. 12, Oct. 2011.
Reviewed October 13, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith