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Your Child’s Teacher Wants to Hear from You

mom talking on the phoneA fear of bothering your child’s classroom teacher may make you reluctant to contact him or her.  But what if communicating with your child’s teacher actually helps them do their job?

Research from Vital Smarts shows there are five things that teachers want parents to tell them because these things disrupt a child’s ability to learn.  The research also shows that when these five things occur, parents aren’t telling their child’s teacher.

The five barriers to learning are: death in the family, major illness, divorce, mood changes, and suspected drug use.

It’s not hard to see why parents are staying quiet about those five things.  They are all difficult life events. If one of these happen to you and your interaction with your child’s teacher doesn’t extend beyond your twenty minute parent conference, you would be disclosing very painful and personal family information to essentially a stranger.

Building a relationship with your child’s teacher early in the year gives you both some much needed familiarity should a difficult conversation need to occur in order to support your child.  Done well, parent-teacher communication forms a mutually beneficial partnership.

Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively with your child’s teacher.

  • Exchange contact information, make sure you know the teacher’s preferred contact method (phone, email, etc.), and then use their preferred method.
  • Give the teacher a brief summary of your child.  State your child’s interests, a bit about your family, and then let the teacher know they may contact you at any time.
  • If your child has dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD, or any other learning challenge, tell your child’s teacher.  Don’t worry if it is redundant information.  The teacher still needs to hear it from you.
  • Keep the teacher updated on any changes in your child’s life that may affect their classroom performance.  The big five, plus anything else you feel impairs your child’s ability to learn.
  • Contact the teacher if you have concerns, don’t wait for the teacher to come to you.  Teachers may be supporting maybe even hundreds of students in a school year.  Alerting them to trouble may actually save them time.
  • Thank the teacher every time you communicate.    Acknowledge their hard work and the life-shaping service they provide your child.

Large class sizes, reduced funding, and shifting standards fill an already busy teaching day to capacity.  Respect for the teacher’s time should be a basis for how you communicate, but it should never be a reason not to communicate.

Information from home may be what the teacher really needs in order to succeed with your child.

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