One of the most valuable step a parent can take is to start a dialogue with the teacher. You both have the same goal—for the student to be successful.
Many things go wrong in the classroom when only one side of a story is told. I cannot not tell you the countless number of times I have heard a parent tell me that they “Had no idea.” “Never saw it.”
- Send a note of appreciation to the teacher when something goes well in her/his class, and mention this to the principal.
- Give the teacher your phone number and email.
- Provide information that will help the teacher get to know your child as an individual. Include relevant information such as allergies, behavior issues (tendency to be distracted, for instance), learning issues, or changes in family life.
- Ask what you can do to help with classroom activities, presentations or fairs, field trips, or anything you can do at home.
- Check the school and teacher Web sites (if available) to keep up with what is going on, in and out of the classroom.
Teachers want to know from parents what makes their child tick and how their child learns best. If your son is obsessed with baseball and learns best through hands-on activities, let the teacher know. If your daughter is into music and absorbs information best when it’s explained out loud, mention that. Knowing about a child’s special interests and learning style can help a teacher get through to them in class. Perhaps the best thing that parents can do to foster good communication with teachers is to encourage their children to talk to their teachers directly