Aside from parents teachers are some of the most influential people in a child’s life. It is of the utmost importance that parents and teachers are able to build strong, positive relationships. Below is a list of 7 of the most important things parents can do to build strong relationships with teachers.
- Learn the teacher’s name. Very little makes a person feel less valued than being expected to work with or for someone who can’t be bothered learning their name. Parents repeatedly come to me with concerns about teachers and are unable to tell me which teacher except by physical description. I find this offensive as an administrator and I know my teachers do as well. Please learn the teacher’s name. You are leaving your child alone with this person all day. Getting to know them is important.
- Be on time. I know you’re busy and constantly rushing around, but having a child enter a classroom late is more disruptive than people understand. Just as you wouldn’t want someone walking into a meeting late, teachers don’t enjoy when children interrupt the start of the school day. Furthermore, arriving late can be chaotic for a child as they feel rushed and, sometimes, embarrassed. Teachers want to have the time to greet your child and check in with them before the school day starts. It’s also important to be on time picking your child up. This is especially important in child care center settings. You wouldn’t walk into a store after closing and expect them to stay open for you. Teachers have lives, children and plans. In addition, and I see it frequently, even young children know when everyone else is gone and they should have left by now. It’s very disheartening.
- Make contact each day. When you drop your child off or pick them up, please make contact with the teacher. Teachers want to be able to check in with you regarding your child’s evening or day. It is also important that teachers are aware of which students are present. It is hard to keep track of children who are dropped off or picked up with no contact.
- Don’t give lip service. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. This is extremely important when it comes to consequences or follow-through at home. Telling your child’s teacher that you will enforce something at home and then not doing it is detrimental to your child’s behavior. It also teaches your child that you don’t mean what you say.
- Back the teacher up. If your child has been given a consequence by a teacher, please back that teacher up. If you do not agree with the consequence or the work, please speak to the teacher about it in private at a later time. But, for the time being, put on a united front. It is important to your child’s relationship with the teacher as well as yours.
- Say what you need to say. We are not mind readers. If you are concerned or upset by something, let them know. Venting about a teacher in front of or to a child accomplishes nothing except diminishing your child’s trust in that teacher.
- Believe us when we say…That your child is sick. Or not himself. Or not developing a skill that they should be. Teachers do NOT enjoy giving parents concerning news but it is part of the job. We don’t enjoy seeing children sick, but we also don’t like watching that illness spread. If we say your child isn’t acting himself, it is out of concern not criticism. Please keep in mind that we likely spend more waking hours with your child during the week than you do. We know your child well. We also don’t enjoy having to tell a parent that a child may be delayed, but catching these things early is in your child’s best interest.
At the end of the day, we all want what is best for your child. Like any relationship your relationship with your child’s teacher requires mutual respect and cooperation.