As school begins for your child, you may be concerned about the quality of their education, their health, and their emotional well-being as they readjust to school. As a parent, you have the strongest influence on your child’s attitude towards school. However, their new teacher will be a close second. Research has suggested that one of the most important indicators of how well their child adjusts to school is the parent’s ability to communicate positively with their child’s teacher. Creating a trusting relationship where you and your child’s teacher can share concerns regarding your child benefits everyone. Here are six suggestions of ways parents can help.
1. Make an effort to introduce yourself. If your child’s school offers a "meet the teacher" event, be sure to go. It’s important your child sees you involved in their education, and it helps your child’s teacher feel more supported knowing who their student’s parents are.
2. Offer to help in any way you can. When teachers know up front who is willing to help with small jobs or organizing class trips, they are less overwhelmed. No one can do it all, including your child’s teacher. Try to be part of the solution and not the problem.
3. Find out how your teacher prefers to be reached. For teachers, there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything. Much of their communication may be done in the evening. Find out how and when they want to be contacted and respect their time and boundaries. Your needs are important, but so are every other parent’s needs and the teacher’s mental health.
4. Never talk negatively about your child’s teacher in front of your child. Being respectful means talking politely about someone even if they aren’t there. Modeling respect for your child’s teacher begins in the home with the parents.
5. When frustrated, put yourself in the teacher’s place. Back-to-school can be stressful and frustrating as everyone transitions; rather than reacting, stop, breath, and take an empathy break. When we consider the teacher’s point of view with so many students and concerns, we can react with more compassion and kindness.
6. Show appreciation every chance you get. When your child says they love their teacher, makes sure you take time to love and appreciate them, too. Express your gratitude with a kind word, a card, or a small gift. Compliment them in public and share with others how great your child’s teacher is so that your child can learn the importance of gratitude.
Children learn to value school by watching their parents value their education. One of the quickest ways to mentor the importance of learning is by treating each teacher with respect and gratitude for helping your child develop the love of learning.