Being a supportive parent and forging a good parent-teacher relationship is in the best interest of the child.
While a helicopter parent is not exactly what teachers are expecting to deal with in the process of educating your child, they do expect you to participate fully in your child’s academic welfare. It’s all about being a reasonable parent working as a team player with the teacher to ensure the child gets the best out of learning.
I had to come to terms with this very quickly when my first child started school and I didn’t know how to act. If you’re a parent of a child who is a new student or you’re where I used to be, I’d like to share 4 things I do to support my child’s teacher and school.
1. Follow school rules
Having a child in school, I sometimes feel as if I’m the one going to classes. From helping her to get dressed, packing lunch, ensuring the homework is signed and returned, to getting her to school on time.
But this encourages me to ensure my child follows the school rules, policies, and procedures even if they seem strict or unfair. I make sure she attends school every day, wearing the appropriate clothing for school, and always on time. Late arrivals only interrupt the class and cause my child to miss the first part of the lesson. In the case of an absence, I usually call the school to let them know my child won’t be in school that day and follow up with a written excuse.
2. Show respect and appreciation
I’ve managed to establish a strong and productive relationship with the teacher because I practiced showing respect and saying, “Thank you,” even for the “little” things. I always remember to be polite and watch my tone when communicating with the teacher, even if I feel a little upset or disappointed by something that happened in the classroom.
At the end of the day, teachers are humans and they should receive the respect and admiration they deserve. They do so much for our kids for the love of teaching and keep our children safe. Showing gratitude with a note complimenting them for a job well done can help strengthen the relationship between you and the teacher and the teacher and your child.
3. Speak with the teacher first
Another way I build an alliance with the teacher and show support is by respecting the chain of command. I used to think that going to the principal’s office is the fastest way to get a matter resolved.
But this idea bypasses the teacher’s authority. In fact, the principal still needed to call the teacher to get the facts before addressing my concerns. Skipping over the teacher may put him on the defense and rob him of an opportunity to explain or apologize. It can also engender mistrust or expose the teacher to unnecessary disciplinary actions by the school’s administration.
By speaking with the teacher first, I show that I respect his authority over my child’s academic affairs and make him feel like an important team player in my child’s success.
4. Keep up to date with what’s happening
I’m a busy working mom and the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is to fill my already saturated brain with information from newsletters, notices, and other types of communications the school sends for me to read.
But, I know how important it is for me to be 100% aware of everything pertaining to my child’s academic and extra-curricular activities. So, I go through the folder my daughter brings home every day from school to keep abreast as well as sign and return homework, documents, and permission slips. I also created accounts to access information from the Parent Portal and the ClassDojo app. This way I never miss out on school events, PTA meetings, and other opportunities.
Other ways to support the teacher:
- Asking questions
- Volunteering at the school
- Helping to promote school events
- Returning signed documents on time
- Donating or helping with fundraising
- Joining the PTA or school’s advisory board
- Teaching the child to respect teachers and grownups
The bottom line is, I’ve learned that partnering with my child’s teacher, and the school as a whole, plays a huge part in the level of my child’s academic success. I’ve learned to be cool, to trust the teachers and the school system and, most of all, be an active team player in my child’s education.
If I can do it, so can you!