Tips for a Good Relationship with Your Child’s Teacher

When you send your five-year old off to Kindergarten for the first day of school, you are essentially entrusting your pride and joy to a stranger.  While this can be a scary idea, it’s a reality and there will be many different teachers in your child’s life throughout their schooling.  These relationships tend to go well when there are no problems, but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world.  Here are some important things to consider when problems do arise that can help make sure this relationship stays a good one.

Teachers care

People don’t get into teaching for the money, fame, or glory.  Most teachers put in tons of extra time and effort to make sure they can give all their students what they need.  Most of us do this because it’s a calling and it’s something we love.   Also, many of us have had numerous classes in a variety of topics that make us experts in our fields and we are constantly working to gain knowledge as new discoveries are made.  Teachers are experts and anything said or done is coming from a place of caring.  Approach this relationship with the idea that you are really on the same page – you and your child’s teacher both want your child to be happy and successful. 

Don’t type angry

With texting, email, and voicemail, people are easily accessible.  Often, when there’s a problem, we want it dealt with immediately.  We begin typing furiously and hit Send before taking the time to calm down and reread the message.  Once that Send button is hit, it cannot be undone. 

There are many times when it’s easy to say things while hiding behind a computer that we would never have the nerve to say in person.  Sending an angry email instead of a calmly-drafted one can certainly damage the relationship between you and your child’s teacher.  Better advice is to ask your child’s teacher to meet in person.  This will cut down on misunderstandings about how things were meant, since there are no social cues to draw from in an email.  If you do email, then draft your venting in a Word document, save it, and come back to it hours later.  Review and tweak it so you can still get your point across while still maintaining your relationship with your child’s teacher and your own integrity.

Teachers are people too

Teachers do not live at school and are not out to get you or your child.  There is a reason for what was said or done.   Sometimes a difference of opinion may seem like something to take personally.  Teachers make mistakes just like everyone else.  Instead of placing blame, ask questions to get to the root of the matter.  The older your children are, the more they can begin to do this for themselves.  One of the things I remind my students is that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.  As we get older, this gets harder to remember.  Instead of asking, “Why didn’t you give my child credit for this assignment?”, you can try to rephrase it with “I noticed that my child didn’t receive credit for this assignment and I wanted to check in to find out why so this doesn’t happen again.”  Both questions get to the same answer, but it keeps anyone from being defensive; and it keeps the relationship a positive and respectful one.

The last bit of advice is to treat others the way you want to be treated.  Think about how you’d like a problem handled if the roles were reversed and keep that in mind when attempting to solve the problem.  Here’s to a great school year each and every year!  Happy Schooling!

How do you deal with issues at school?

Tags : school   teachers   

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