Like parenting, educating children is an evolving practice. Children are constantly learning, whether it’s at home or in school, from books or behaviors. Teachers and parents each have their own practices and techniques, so, when it comes to teaching our children, how do we know what’s best? According to a survey published by the National Education Association, the answer is simple: partnership and communication. The survey found, “nearly 88 percent of parents and 80 percent of teachers consider each other to be partners in a child’s success in school.” Partnering isn’t always easy, especially when a teacher and parent have different approaches, yet it remains crucial to your child’s success.
Consider using these tips to build and maintain a healthy partnership with your child’s teacher.
Open the lines of communication. Work with your child’s teacher to discover which ways of communication will work best for the both of you. Be sure to include your child in your communication plan, especially when it comes to setting expectations for behavior and class performance. Some parents choose to communicate through email, phone, or writing notes in a school notebook. There are also apps available, such as BuzzMob or TeacherKit, which help bridge the communication gap between parents and teachers.
Volunteer. Many schools give parents opportunities to participate in their child’s classroom as volunteers. Whether it’s reading a story or chaperoning a field trip, volunteering helps parents and teachers connect in real time. Observing the classroom might provide insight on how to best support your child’s teacher while also noting how your child behaves during school hours.
Know the rules. Rules at home may be different than rules at school. Taking time to understand how your child’s teacher runs his or her classroom will give parents a greater sense of what can be done after school to ensure consistency.
Practice compassion. It may sound trite, but practicing compassion goes a long way. As parents, we are always looking for ways to help our children succeed. But, the truth is that your child isn’t the only child in the classroom. Teachers are busy communicating with each of their students’ parents. Acknowledging a teacher’s hard work, remaining patient while waiting for a response to a question or comment, and asking the right questions will help your support your child’s teacher in small, but impactful ways.
Share what you know. Parents know their children the best. Help your child’s teacher by sharing insights, such as your child’s learning preferences or attention problems, early in the school year. Providing suggestions or tips in a gentle and non-threatening manner will help your child’s teacher discern how to best support your child.
Parents are always looking for ways to support their children, at home and in school. Partnering with your child’s teacher is a great way to help them succeed at every level of learning.
Erin Navaro, an Ohio native, is a young professional who works with older adults, supporting them in every stage of their care. Curious about the world, Erin has lived and worked in Tanzania and India, finding inspiration from the people and cultures that have hosted her along the way. To see what’s next, connect with her on LinkedIn.