4 Steps to a Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship
Teachers are wonderful creatures with an amazing insight into your child's development. To make the most of these interview sessions, I always tell parents to Accept, Help, Ask and Listen:
Accept: Most schools offer an opportunity to meet with the teacher only a couple of times each year; don't waste them. Accept every invitation. These are times when the teacher is fully prepared to discuss your child's progress and will be armed with a portfolio of work and assessments to show you. They are gold!
Help: This is your chance to speak up. As a teacher myself, I far prefer listening to parents than talking because it allows me to be a better teacher with your child! The teacher has worked with your child for 1 term; you have had them all their lives! Help your child's teacher understand your child better.
Ask: You don't need to be an expert on the curriculum to ask good questions. Try these...
- Is my son/daughter progressing as expected?
- What do they do well?
- What do they need help with?
- What can I do to help?
- Do they participate well in class?
- Does my son/daughter seem settled at school? How do they get along with others?
- Are there any areas for concern?
- What's the best way to contact you if I need to discuss any concerns?
Listen: Listen for comments like: "There are worse students than her...", "I am encouraging her to ask more questions...", and "She is behind, but I will be working on that with her...". These are all comments suggesting weaknesses. Drill further and ask the teacher to elaborate. Don't ignore comments that you are concerned with because you will only be accusing them later that, "you never told me" and this does nothing for anyone. If you want to know more, listen, and ask for ways you can provide support.
And, above all, be surprisingly friendly and supportive. Teachers work very hard and a simple smile from a parent can make their whole week!