All parents want to have a positive and supportive relationship with their child’s teacher. Some years parents are closer with teachers than others. So what makes the difference? Is there a way to encourage a positive relationship? Is it possible even with the current pandemic when we find ourselves kept off school grounds? Yes it is, and here are 5 tips to foster that positive relationship from a current teacher and mom of two boys.
Opening an honest and constructive line of communication early in the relationship is important. I often start off the school year by sending my children’s teachers a quick email introducing myself and letting them know how excited we are for a new school year with them. I always make sure to include that they can contact me anytime with questions or concerns. In my role as a teacher, it is challenging to get to know all the parents quickly in the beginning of the year. Parents who take the time to send a quick email to introduce themselves stand out among the bunch.
I also appreciate when parents send me an introduction letter or email about their child. It gives me a glimpse into their world and helps me get to know them a little faster. Let the teacher know your child’s educational background, interests, likes and dislikes, or anything that might be helpful in setting up a successful relationship.
Parents and teachers are partners in the learning process. Establishing that partnership early is important. For example, if a teacher emails home with a behavioral or academic concern, reply back with your plan from home. Detail what you are going to do at home to support your child to do and be their best. Most importantly, follow through with the plan and check in often with the teacher.
Another way to build that partnership is to call or send an email with any major life changes or events that may affect your child’s learning or behavior at school. So often, we as teachers can tell something is off at school but don’t understand the reason. If we know the background we can help support your child.
Building a relationship of mutual respect is a healthy part of any relationship. If you have a concern or problem, go to the teacher and ask for clarification. We are there to support your child and their learning process. Sometimes things can get miscommunicated or taken out of context. Just ask! I appreciate when parents send an email asking for clarification or to explain something. It is better to ask than assume. Definitely don’t go to the principal or administration before you have talked to the teacher first. Give the teacher a chance to explain and resolve the issue. Going to admin before talking to the teacher damages that respect in the relationship.
Teachers appreciate parents that offer support. Support does not always need to come in the way of volunteering in the classroom. Currently, volunteering in the classroom is not possible in many school districts. Get creative on how you can be involved and lend support! It might mean taking things home to cut out, staple or glue. It might be helping sort papers or putting together portfolios. This year, in my classroom, we had a parent set-up and manage a Shutterfly photo account. This allows parents a glimpse into the classroom without physically being there. The parent that took this on, took a huge responsibility off our shoulders and it was very appreciated. You never know what your child’s teacher might need until you ask, so ask!
Did your child’s teacher do a special craft or art activity with the class? Send them an email saying how much you loved and enjoyed it. After a parent-teacher conference, send a quick email or send a card thanking the teacher for their time and commitment. One of my favorite treats during parent-teacher conferences is when a parent will show up with an iced tea or coffee. Currently, most conferences are on the computer so you could send in a bottled iced tea with a snack for their long day of video conferences. A note, an email or a small treat mean so much to teachers. These small tokens of appreciation are some of the most meaningful gestures during the year. So with all the tips shared, above anything, thank your child’s teacher for their time, commitment and dedication.
Another great way to foster this relationship would be to have your child (OR YOU!) write a thank you note to their teacher. We’ve created this FREE THANK YOU NOTE template for you to use! Writing an email to show appreciation is kind, but a hand-written note is so very special and not done often enough.