Being a parent at school can be overwhelming. All that teacher jargon and new programs. Tons of data coming at you with test results and standards. Plus, the endless fliers and forms to be signed.
It’s no wonder if you’re feeling a little lost and confused!
You might feel like you’re just barely keeping your head above water when it comes to handling things at your child’s school. The good news is that you are not alone. Many parents also feel overwhelmed and confused.
The better news is that you have a built-in ally and support system! Building a positive connection with your child’s teacher can dramatically change your school year. As a bonus, your child will feel the impact of your new home-school team, too!
Why should parents team up with teachers?
It can feel like school and home are two separate things. They overlap with daily homework or at school events, but otherwise exist separately. In an ideal world, this shouldn’t be the case. Home and school should be working together to help your child succeed!
When parents and teachers are talking or emailing regularly, everyone is on the same page. That means you are all poised to act swiftly and cohesively if or when there are serious concerns.
Working with your child’s teacher as a team also means that parents will have an extra resource. It’s easier to understand test results or school acronyms when you can send a friendly email or have a quick meeting.
Building a strong parent-teacher team is the foundation for helping your child succeed at school!
How can parents and teachers connect?
Everything starts with open, professional, respectful, and regular communication.
When school starts, send a short email to the teacher. Express your excitement or positive outlook for the new school year. Ask how you can help. Share one or two quick must know tidbits about your child, like optimal working habits tips or tricks past teachers have used.
Make it a habit to send a friendly email a few times a month. Let the teacher know that you see their hard work. Share a lesson or project your child recently completed. Comment on a book suggestion your child is enjoying.
Having this positive communication routine in place makes it easier to bring up tough situations.
What happens when something “bad” happens?
When you do need to ask the teacher about something more challenging, like low grades or behavior problems, keep it brief and professional. Stick to the facts and leave emotion out of your message. If you have big concerns, ask for a meeting to talk things through together.
You’ve already created a positive connection with the teacher, so it will be easier to have these honest conversations. Parents who have built a good working relationship at school often find that they get more information or assistance from the teacher.
Teachers who feel supported and seen by their student’s families are more willing to be flexible or offer more assistance.
How does this help my child?
Teachers are on the front lines with your child for a good portion of their waking hours. They notice little changes in mood or academic confidence.
You want the teacher to feel comfortable coming to you with their observations, even when what they are seeing isn’t cause for jubilation.
When the teacher is able to speak candidly with parents about not so great situations, it helps everyone find solutions and resolutions more quickly. The teacher might feel comfortable offering more unique options or sharing additional support services.
Parents who build a respectful, professional relationship with their child’s teacher feel more confident and empowered at school. You’re willing to stand your ground or try something new because you’ve been talking openly with the teacher about your options. That spells success for your child! With a cohesive, cooperative support system between home and school, your child is more likely to access needed services or resources. You’ll be tipped off as soon as possible about academic dips or victories. That means you can act quickly to fill academic gaps or celebrate improvements.
In short, you will likely get more for your child when you have a good working relationship with the teacher.
To get actionable solutions to common K-12 school problems, parents should check out Talk to the Teacher by Meg Flanagan.
Is homework a struggle in your home? Check out this resource that Meg is giving away for free!