Connecting with Teachers

Finding the time to build a relationship with a child’s teacher or primary caregiver can be a challenge. It’s even harder if your child struggles in school, has difficult behaviors, or simply doesn’t like the teacher (or the teacher doesn’t like your child). When you hear something troubling about your kids, it can be hard to keep your cool. Some parents get very angry and frustrated with teachers, and this in turn may cause bad feelings all the way around. Listed below are some ideas for connecting positively with teachers and helping your child do the same.

Tips for . . .

  • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Before leaving your baby or young child alone at preschool or daycare, spend time together exploring the room, talking with the teachers, and playing. Give your child a chance to ease into the new environment and the care providers a chance to see how you and your child interact.
    • Make an effort to learn things about your children’s teachers or caregivers. Ask about their interests, hobbies, or families.
    • parents with children 6 to 9
    • Volunteer to help in your child’s classroom or school. Even if you don’t have time during the day, many schools need help with projects that can be completed at home.
    • Tell teachers specific things you appreciate about them—the way they greet children in the morning, certain activities they’ve planned, or the way they engage their students.
    • parents with children 10 to 15
    • Find out how teachers and school officials prefer to communicate—e-mail, telephone, notes sent back-and-forth? Then use that method to regularly stay in touch.
    • Attend open houses, conferences, and other school events whenever possible. In addition to talking about your child’s progress, make it a point to also have casual, friendly conversations with teachers.
    • parents with children 16 to 18
    • Since most students at this age are moving from class to class throughout the day, make a point of getting to know school administrators, counselors, and other staff who might consistently interact with your child.
  • In a large high school it can be easy for students to get “lost in the shuffle” and go largely unnoticed. Find out which teachers your children have and reach out to them regularly at school events and conferences. Help your teenage children succeed by making sure the adults at school know them and you.

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