It’s that time of year again. You’ve probably just attended Open House at your child’s school. You’ve bought the supplies and are back in school after the summer break. You may be thrilled that school’s back in session but there’s no doubt about it – the start of a new school year brings new issues for both you and your child. Your concerns center around how well your child will perform academically this year. If you want to help your child succeed in school, it’s imperative that you and your child’s teacher work together – and this requires a positive relationship between the two of you.
This post contains affiliate links. That means that I make a small commission – at no charge to you – should you make a purchase. That helps keep this site up and running.
Too often these days, teachers do not get support from parents. When a teacher feels that she won’t get the support needed from home, it’s only human that she becomes reluctant to contact the parents when there’s an issue. This is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved – especially for your child.
On the other hand, teachers who know that they will find a supportive parent at home are much more likely to pick up the phone or compose an email to keep that parent informed as to what’s going on at school. You want to be THAT parent, and not the parent that teachers dread having to interact with.
9 things you can do to make your child’s teacher love you.
- Make contact early and let the teacher know you’re interested in your child’s education. Like most people, teachers prefer to contact a friendly ally that they’ve already met.
- Provide a current phone number and email address. You’d be surprised how often teachers try to contact a parent and can’t because the information is either out of date, or worse, purposely withheld.
- ASK how you can help your child succeed – and then do it. This may mean checking a folder or backpack each night, or checking the teacher’s website for upcoming class information. The point is that you follow through with the teacher’s suggestions to best help your child master the material and gain the skills that are required for this subject or school year. The simple fact is that your child needs to succeed this year in order to be successful next year.
- Respond in a timely manner to emails, notes sent home, or phone calls. School problems don’t magically get better by being ignored. If nothing else, your child’s teacher wants to be sure that you’re aware of any information she’s sent home.
- Don’t hover at school or show up unannounced demanding to see the teacher “right now”. Your child’s teacher is not available at a moment’s notice – they only have a specified conference period each day. Some days that conference time is already scheduled with ARD meetings or meetings with other parents, colleagues, or administrators. It’s also likely that the teacher has assigned duties before and after school and cannot leave that duty unattended for an unscheduled meeting during these times either. A sad reality about most schools these days is that they’re understaffed. Pulling a teacher away from duty means that students have less supervision while she’s gone. Your child’s teacher will be happy to meet with you – just ask the school secretary to have the teacher call you to set up an appointment or send the an email requesting one.
- Likewise, remember that your child’s teacher has many students (ranging from 20-200 depending on the grade level and department configuration!). Don’t demand that the teacher contact you daily. As a former administrator I’ve seen and talked to parents who wanted to hear from the school every day. We know you’re concerned, but daily contact is not possible – you’ll wear the teacher out! Let her know to contact you when there’s a problem or something you need to know about. Otherwise, leave the contacting schedule to her.
- Don’t assume the teacher is the enemy when there’s a problem. When an issue arises, TALK to the teacher before drawing any conclusions. Okay, I’m going to get brutally honest here – very often parents assume that the teacher is “out to get” their child whenever there’s a problem with behavior or grades. We all love our kids and want the best for them. But sometimes that means realizing that kids will be kids. Trust me, your child’s teacher has likely seen a range of behaviors that might even shock you. If your child has a problem or is in trouble, the teacher is not blaming you for the child’s behavior – they’ve seen enough to know it’s just a kid being a kid. The problem comes in when parents assume that THEIR CHILD would never do that! Even the most wonderful child with the best parents in the world will occasionally push the boundaries to see what they can get away with – it’s human nature. So if something happens at school, don’t freak out. Blame and accusations accomplish nothing. Let’s just have a conversation, make a plan to solve the problem, and move on.
- If your child is taking standardized tests this year, be supportive. It’s not the teacher’s fault (nor is it the school’s fault) if certain tests are required since some tests are mandated by law. And if truth be told, I can’t say that I know a single teacher who went into the profession because they loved giving standardized tests. Most teachers know they’re simply a fact of life these days and they try to make the best of it. You can help by encouraging your child to do their best and not freak out. And the best way for your child not to freak out is for you to refrain from freaking out too! A low-key but supportive approach to testing is generally best.
- Finally, remember that your child’s learning is ultimately up to them. They’re the one who has to pay attention in class. They’re the one who must do the homework and study for the tests. Students who succeed in school – and in life – have parents who don’t make excuses for them or expect that the path be made easier. Holding your child accountable will pay off in the long run.
The hardest job in the world is being a parent. The second hardest job is being a teacher. Working together helps ensure that the child has a successful year and grows on their journey to becoming an educated, competent adult. That’s the purpose of education and the job takes all of us.
If you found this post helpful, please pin it to your favorite Pinterest board and share it with your friends. I’d also love to have you sign up for the weekly newsletter. You’ll get access to information and content not found on the blog. What you won’t get is a crowded inbox.