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August 24, 2010

Maintaining a Connection With Your Child’s Teacher

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Image Courtesy of Teaching Resource Center

When I was in about third grade, I was surprised to discover that my teacher did not, in fact, live in the classroom – she actually had a house and family, and she went home every day.

A teacher is your partner in the education of your child. It’s also important to remember that your child’s teacher is a person first, and would appreciate a consistent connection with you throughout the school year!

Get Some Face Time

I have a friend who takes her kids to school each morning so that she can connect with her kids’ teachers. While I think this is great, I can barely drag myself from my bed to watch my kids at the bus stop, so this plan wouldn’t work for me.

This is fine, because I know teachers are busy people and there are other ways to get face time with your child’s teacher. Before the school year starts, take a field trip to the school with your kids and arrange to meet. This will help everyone involved feel more comfortable on the first day of school. Also, if dropping your kids off at school doesn’t work for you, what about popping in a couple of times a week to pick them up, checking in with the teacher while you’re there?

Although they don’t involve face to face interaction, here are more ways to connect with your child’s teacher on a regular basis:

  • Exchange email addresses – email is easier and faster than a phone call.
  • If you call, leave a detailed message.
  • Volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis.
  • Schedule an appointment if there’s an important issue you’d like to discuss.

Give the Best Information

Teaching is a highly demanding and stressful job, and teachers can use all the help they can get.

Sometimes the best help you can give a teacher is information. Be up front about behavioral or medical conditions, like asthma, allergies, ADHD, OCD, and Autism Spectrum disorder to name a few, along with any pertinent medications that your child must take while at school. Keep the teacher informed of family changes, like adoption, divorce or remarriage – this helps teachers watch out for any behavior changes.

Giving this information to your child’s teacher may feel uncomfortable, but it helps him/her give your child the attention he/she needs from the beginning of the school year. Teachers are also required to keep this information confidential.

Stay Involved

As a former elementary school teacher, I would give one piece of advice to parents – simply, do what you say you’re going to do. This doesn’t mean that you have to do a lot, or that you have to actually be inside the classroom to volunteer.

Here are a few ways to stay involved:

  • Complete volunteer tasks at home, like correcting spelling tests or cutting out shapes for a lesson.
  • Go to all-school or family-centered events, like Back to School night, conferences, Open House, harvest parties or carnivals.
  • Chaperone class fieldtrips.
  • Donate classroom supplies or prizes.

Show Appreciation

To teachers working on the front line, a thank you goes a long way, and there are several easy ways to show your appreciation!

  • Write a quick email once a week to share a joke, a funny story about your child, or to say thank you.
  • Give teachers and students a smile in the hallway.
  • Bring coffee – most teachers drink it and love free coffee drinks.
  • Acknowledge his/her birthday with a card from your family.
  • Observe Christmas and Teacher Appreciation Week with cards small gifts, or gift certificates to a restaurant or a book store. Have your child fill out the card.

Consistent connections with your child’s teachers will benefit them, you and your child!

Author Byline

Kelly Wilson

Kelly Wilson

Kelly Wilson is an editor with Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing teachers and classrooms with low-cost, high-quality Teacher Supplies.

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