1. Don’t use Open House, the parent pick-up line, or a random spotting at Target as a time to discuss your child’s behavior or grade.
This catches the teacher off guard, and you may not get a fully accurate response. Send an email or leave a voicemail with your question or concern.
2. Instead of heading straight to an administrator, communicate with the teacher first.
The teacher feels less threatened and is likely to be more open to what you have to say.
3. Be specific in your email or voicemail.
The more information the teacher has, the better she can respond to your question.
4. Give the teacher a few days to reply.
Sometimes the teacher needs to gather information in order to correctly and completely answer you.
5. Don’t assume your child has all of the facts.
Children can miss the big picture of the classroom. And sometimes…sometimes our children lie to get out of trouble with us as parents. There. I said it. We don’t want to believe it could be our kid, but it does happen.
6. Please don’t attack.
Be direct and express your concern, but avoid inflammatory language. Understandably, this is your child’s well-being we’re discussing, and emotions run high. But you’ll more likely receive the response you’re hoping for when respect is part of the dialogue.
7. If your child is struggling, listen to the advice the teacher offers.
Teachers are taught to recognize learning difficulties. They know red flags and can often recognize early warning signs for an educational need in which outside assistance may be beneficial.
8. Support the educational process.
Nothing is worse for us as teachers than to be demeaned or for our work to be diminished by the parent in front of the child. The child will struggle to take our classroom seriously the rest of the year.
9. Recognize mistakes in this life happen.
Teachers will be wrong. When grace can be offered, do so with overflowing buckets.
10. Offer encouragement.
In all my years teaching I have only ever received two or three parent emails just as a thank you. I’ll tell you, those blessed my heart more than any scented Christmas candle.
I know that not all teachers fall into the perfection category. For sure, there are teachers that need lessons in effective communication. There are also times when it’s best to bring in an administrator or guidance counselor. However, it’s important to start the dialogue with the teacher in way that will ultimately bring about success for your child.
Because here’s the magic. A good teacher knows she can’t do her job as effectively without the supportive parent. An open, healthy dialogue with your child’s teacher will only enhance your child’s experience in the classroom.