I have attended THREE meet the teacher events in the past few weeks. Every parent knows that back to school is an important time for children to adjust to new classmates, teachers and routines, but it is also when parents begin their relationships with teachers.
What can parents do to make parent-teacher relationships positive and effective? I had my own ideas from my teaching years and my parenting years, but I wanted to share more than just my own perspective. So I hit up that cool teacher hangout for more advice... Twitter.
I tweet at @andtheteacher and you can follow me to see some of what I am reading. Although, you might get annoyed when I tweet questions like this one at a gazillion teachers.
"Any suggestions for parents to develop positive and effective parent-teacher relationships?"
One of the first things that happened was that teachers shared tips for teachers to build good relationships with parents. Of course those overachieving Twitter-teachers were focused on their own role.
We ALL need to do our part to create parent-teacher relationships that work in our kids' best interests. Here are the teachers of Twitter, weighing in on what parents can do:
Yes! I almost screamed at my computer screen when I read this tweet. When a child's behavior changes at school, teachers usually reflect on their practice first. I used to wonder, did I do anything differently last week? Were my lessons lackluster? Should I rearrange the classroom? And sometimes, I would find out later that something major had happened at home: parents separated, grandma died or someone lost a job. In the middle of a family crisis it is easy to forget to contact the teacher, especially when the child is behaving normally at home. But it is often just these children, who are holding it together at home, that act out their stress and anxiety at school. If something notable happens at home, reach out to the teacher so he or she can respond appropriately.
This sounds so simple and yet so powerful. I can envision this tactic working with preschool children and teenagers. I'm keeping this idea in my back pocket for my next parent-teacher-child conference.
I loved reading these tweets because they reflect the diversity of school experiences. I also enjoyed finding common themes like communicate and show your support. What about you? Do any readers have suggestions to add to the list?
8 Tips for Building a Good Relationship With Your Child's Teacher by Geri Coleman Tucker
School Tips for Parents from a Principal by Derrick Meador
9 Annoying Things Parents Do That Drive Teachers Crazy by Terri Roberts