Back to School
School's back in session and for parents and kids, that means getting to know a new teacher. Be the teacher's pet parent this year with these simple classroom etiquette rules!
The parent teacher relationship is an important one. But forging a successful partnership with your child's teacher doesn't mean you have to spring for donuts every morning or force your kiddo to greet his teacher with a song and dance.
Follow these tips (which come straight from real teachers) to build a great relationship between you and your child's teacher:
Make contact with the teacher at an appropriate time.
Teachers are always up for communicating with parents, but the conversations need to be at the right time. It's common for parents to attempt to have a quick chat with their child's teacher at drop off and pick up times, but those are chaotic moments that require a teacher's full attention.
If you need to get in touch with your child's teacher, leave a note in his backpack, send an email stating that you'd like to make an appointment to come in, or leave a voicemail. This allows the teacher to be completely focused on you and your child, as well as eases the stress of an impromptu meeting that the teacher can't prepare for.
Keep your sick child home.
It seems like common sense, but the reality is that many kids are sent to school when they should be kept home due to illness. While teachers understand the hardships of finding child care for a sick child, they certainly don't want germs spread to other students in class - not to mention themselves.
Check out the school's illness policy that details when to keep children home; stick to the policy and your child's teacher will be truly grateful.
Help out in the classroom.
Many teachers love it when parents volunteer in classrooms. An extra pair of hands can go a long way! Check with the teacher beforehand to see what will be expected of you. You may be hoping to help out with a science project, but the teacher may need your help prepping materials for an upcoming project or organizing cabinets and supplies.
A few extra tips for classroom parents:
- Don't simply show up if you've found yourself with a spare hour. You can't expect the teacher to have work for you on short notice. Likewise, not showing up when you've already said you would be in class also places the teacher in a difficult situation.
- If you're unable to be in the classroom, ask for projects you can do at home, like cutting out materials for art projects.
- Another option for helping out the classroom without being there? Donate school supplies. Check with your teacher periodically to see what is most needed. Many teachers buy school supplies with their own money and aren't reimbursed, so your support would be happily accepted.
Ask questions when you're concerned but don't attack.
When parents are concerned about situations at school or their child's educational progress, teachers want to hear about it. What they don't want, however, is to be attacked by parents or accused of not doing more.
If you're speaking with your child's teacher about an issue that is troubling you, do your best to stay calm as you list your concerns. Ask questions and stay away from accusations. If the conversation becomes heated, take a moment to calm down or reschedule for another time. Your child's teacher will appreciate this approach much more and put forth the effort to explain and/or reassure you in earnest. Remember, you and the teacher both want what's best for your child!
Who doesn't love to get a nice thank you note once in awhile? Send your child's teacher a quick note now and then expressing how you appreciate the teacher's hard work. If your child really enjoyed a specific lesson plan or event, let her know. It's amazing how far a simple bit of feedback and appreciation can go!
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