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How to communicate effectively with your child’s teacher

You and your child's teacher are on the same side. You both want the best for your child. Communication is key to working together.

It’s important for parents to create a positive relationship with their child’s teacher, and one of the best ways of doing that is by improving the way you communicate with them.

Good communication leads to less conflict and more collaboration. However, it is not always simple. As with any human contact, it’s simple to get the short end of the stick, to make a mistake, or to take offense to negative feedback about your child.

Here are some pointers to help you and your child’s teacher communicate effectively:

Choose your battles carefully

There will always be concerns and situations that irritate you. You may believe the hair policy is absurd, but do you want to make a big deal out of it? Minor annoyances are frequently worth accepting as part of the school’s policy.

Meet in person rather than over e-mail

You must know who your child’s teacher is, and the best way of doing that is by meeting the teacher face to face. It would help if you prepared for the meeting before you go. Make a list of positive things to say to the teacher and any concerns you may have, and bring it with you to ensure you cover everything.

Respectfully resolve conflicts

When your child’s teacher calls, she’s probably concerned about your child’s conduct or schoolwork, so it’s tempting to panic, become defensive, or fly off the handle before you’ve even heard everything she has to say. How do you keep your cool? The goal is to ask the proper questions so that you and the teacher can devise a strategy to assist your child.

Most issues can usually be resolved in a conference call or a few more phone calls. If you and the teacher don’t agree during the year, ask the principal or a school counsellor to mediate and offer a resolution.

Maintain an optimistic attitude. If you criticise the teacher, the principal is more likely to support her than listen to your point of view.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Throughout the year, notify the teacher if anything difficult is happening at home, such as the death of a pet or an imminent divorce. Teachers require feedback on assignments as well. If your child’s homework takes hours to finish, send a note to the teacher. That way, she’ll be able to make changes for the next time. Remember to use kind and polite words. For example, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. These small words go a long way in building a good relationship.

Be open to feedback

Try not to become defensive if your child’s teacher delivers constructive criticism. Ask how you can assist your child if there are any areas where your child can improve.

Be well-informed

Informed parents are aware of what is going on in the classroom. They are familiar with the teacher, the students, and the classroom rules. Reading newsletters and any notes sent home are some of the simplest methods to stay updated about what’s going on in the classroom. Sign up for the Communicator or similar app if your school subscribes to it, and get school news and info on your phone or computer.  

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