You and your child’s teacher have a mutual goal -- to see your child succeed academically. Working together improves the likelihood you will achieve that goal. Begin team building at the beginning of the year by meeting your child’s teacher and expressing your willingness to meet with the teacher in a one-on-one situation and any time there is a situation the teacher thinks you should know about or can help with.
At the beginning of the year, many schools have a “meet the teacher” night where you can introduce yourself and find out about the teacher’s goal and methods. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor, suggests you take a look around the classroom and see what it tells you about her and her classes. Provide her with your contact information and a short note requesting a face-to-face meeting to discuss your child. Your note can communicate your willingness to talk about ways you can help your child and the teacher.
When your child’s teacher schedules a parent-teacher conference, be on time and go prepared, suggests Lydia Spinelli, Ed.D., with the NYU Child Study Center. Ask your child if there is anything you need to know before you talk to the teacher, such as problems he is having with assignments, other kids or the teacher. You can ask about your child’s progress, examine examples of his work and communicate things your child told you. Ask for whatever ideas the teacher has to help your child succeed. Build trust between you and the teacher, Scholastic professionals suggest. You also want to create a climate of problem-solving, cooperation, communication and creativity, according to Gail Fulford, a teacher with 30 years experience, writing on TeachHub.com.
Keep the lines of communication open between you and your child’s teacher. Ask how he would prefer to be contacted and let him know the best times to contact you. You can send texts, emails or other communications as often as you need. You can also send communication through your child, building a bridge between you and the school and enlisting your child’s assistance in making her educational experience the best possible, according to an article on the Teaching Tolerance website.
Your child’s teacher can use help in doing her job, and many school districts don’t have the funds to pay for it. If you can, volunteer in the classroom or send supplies the teacher can use with all the students, Teaching Tolerance suggests. Offer to talk to the class about a topic within your expertise, such as presenting information about your country of origin, occupation, favorite hobby or teach a skill that corresponds with something within the curriculum. Your child’s teacher will appreciate your willingness to work on her team.
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