Mighty Mommy shares her 6 expert tips for creating a great relationship with your child’s teacher.
Tip #4: The High School Connection
As our kids move along in grades through middle and high school, they start to have a team of teachers, instead of just one or two for the school year. It becomes more challenging to build relationships with so many different teachers. It can be done, however, if you’re willing to make a small investment throughout the school year.
Be sure and get a copy of your child’s class schedule at the beginning of the year, and also know who his/her guidance counselor is. At the beginning of each school year I like to send my high school aged children’s guidance counselor a “welcome back to school” email and let them know I’ve seen their new schedule and that we are looking forward to a good year ahead. I make sure to include all of my children's teachers on that email so that they know I am aware of the classes for that semester.
This has proven very successful over the past 8 years. That initial email opened the doors for communication, which is key. I also use this method at the end of the school year to thank the teachers that I feel have made a difference in my children’s live. Any “thank you” emails that I send are always copied to the principal and superintendent of the school so that they are aware of which teachers have the most impact.
Tip #5: Maintain the Connection
Once the initial back-to-school events are over, be sure and stay involved. Make a point to show up and participate in events such as the annual science fair, the school carnival, and attend PTA and PTO (parent teacher association/organization) meetings throughout the year.
When your child tells you something they particularly liked or disliked at school (such as classmates, activities, etc.), share this information with the teacher.
Be on time, be positive, and be prepared for school activities and meetings.
Offer to volunteer your time in the classroom or as a chaperone on class trips.
Consider donating classroom supplies or a gift certificate to a store where teachers can purchase materials for the classroom. (You'd be surprised how many supplies teachers buy with their own money!)
Stay connected with the teacher so you’ll know his/her teaching style. This way, you might be able to contribute fun extras to the classroom like prizes, art supplies extra snacks, and find ways to help the teacher maintain a fun learning environment.
Tip #6: Remember—Teachers Are People Too!
When we and our kids see our teachers at school and in the classroom setting, it can be easy to forget that they have lives outside of school. Teachers experience joy and difficult times in their personal lives just like our families do. Small remembrances throughout the year are very much appreciated:
- Send cards for special events in the teacher's life such as birthdays or the birth of a child or grandchild.
- Don't forget to say "thank you" for both the big things and the little things. Try to be specific when praising. “It really meant a lot to us and to Jack that you spent so much extra time making sure he understood the material for his math tests this past quarter.” And more importantly teach your child to do these things for himself starting as early as nursery school.
- If your child is having a problem at school, reach out on his behalf but don’t demand the teacher make time to see you. Respect the teacher's schedule and ask what would be a convenient time to call or meet with you.
- Don't forget to acknowledge the teacher's colleagues — classroom aides, lunchroom and playground supervisors, secretaries and school nurses, custodians, and security personnel, bus drivers and crossing guards — anyone who helps to keep the school running and safe.
How do you build relationships with your kids' teachers? Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
Once our kids go off to school, there are many different things we as parents have to think about. But if you start with building a good relationship with their teachers, you’ll be one big step closer to helping your kids have the best school experience possible. Check back next week for more fun parenting tips, and until next time………………Happy Parenting!