BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Many parents entrust the care of their children to a school’s faculty and staff for at least eight hours a day, five days a week.
As this is the case, a number of parents hope to have open communication with their children’s instructors.
But the average teacher has limited time and many demands.
So, how can a concerned parent ensure that they establish open communication with their child’s teacher?
Natalie Kitchen, a former teacher and mother of more than one child, shares her thoughts on the matter via a site called Parent Cue.
Some of Kitchen’s points, along with advice from similar sources are found in the six points below.
#1 Be Personable
Kitchen recommends approaching teachers with a relaxed and friendly demeanor that invites them to open up about their experiences, struggles, and thoughts. She says, “I want to make it a point to befriend his teachers as soon as possible. Ask them questions about their classroom and their life. Connect with them however I can and as early as I can.”
#2 Be efficient about communication
Many parents expect that at some point during the schoolyear, questions or problems will arise and they’ll need to contact their child’s teacher.
But these days, there are endless ways to stay in touch with others. Email, social media, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, texting, phone calls, and a near endless array of other ways to connect.
As this is the case, one of the best questions to ask a teacher during your first interaction with them is, “How do you prefer to be contacted?”
This can save you from waiting days to hear back from a message that was never seen and from having question after question left unanswered.
#3 Be helpful
After initially meeting with a teacher, it may be advantageous to reach out and ask, “Doe you need anything for the class?” and “Is there anything I can do to help?”
A site called Motherly points out that, “Many classroom budgets are limited, so if you’re able, ask if there is anything small you can contribute. Even if your classroom is virtual this year, there may still be supplies or software that your support can help purchase.”
Volunteering to lend a hand in a school trip or project or to purchase some classroom supplies can go a long way in connecting with your child’s teacher.
#4 Be respectful
There may be situations where a parent feels their child isn’t being treated fairly, and this can be an incredibly sensitive time. But addressing a child’s teacher with respect, even when disagreements arise, may help to keep the misunderstanding from escalating and it will likely set a good example for the child in question.
Kitchen says, “As our kids grow in their understanding of authority, I know they’ll look to us to learn how to respond when they’re faced with conflict. I feel our disrespect of our child’s teachers will breed their future disrespect of us and other authorities in their life.”
#5 Show teachers their opinions are valued
If your child is struggling with something school-related, it can be helpful to turn to their teacher for their opinion. This can be accomplished by introducing the problem with a statement such as, “I’d like your advice.”
Not only is it logical to ask for the perspective of an educator who’s in your child’s company nearly every day, but seeking them out for advice is a great way to show that you value and respect their opinion.
#6 When problems arise, show you’re actively addressing them
According to Motherly, parents can do this by saying, “This is what we’re doing to work on the problem. What else do you suggest?”
It adds, “Whether it’s turning homework in on time or talking too much in class, let your teacher know the things you’re doing to help your child with a problem at school. Give specifics, like a screenshot of the planner you’ve set up for school assignments or a summary of the conversation you had with your child on the seriousness of listening in the classroom. This shows that you’re taking the problem seriously. It will also let them know what’s already been tried so they can better brainstorm solutions.”
Despite being busy and often underpaid, teachers say they find joy in their work when they interact with cooperative and helpful parents.
One teacher named Megan said, “Just a note of appreciation makes all the difference.”
Hopefully, one or more of the suggestions listed above will assist in helping you establish open communication with your child’s teacher.