Form a Partnership with Your Child’s Teacher

25.01.2019 |

Episode #2 of the course Helping your child become a better student by Rebecca Jordan


Welcome back! I hope you were able to talk with your children about their school day with a productive conversation!

Today, we are going to examine how to form a partnership with your child’s teacher. In today’s world, communication is immediate and accessible. Therefore, hearing feedback regarding your child’s behavior and performance is easier than ever. However, navigating the partnership between parent and teacher is a delicate one, so here are guidelines to follow:

Meet the teacher. It may sound simple and obvious, but I cannot tell you how many parents have never darkened the door of my classroom. It’s one of those “if I had a nickel” scenarios from Lesson 1. By meeting the teacher, you are signifying that you 1) think education is important and 2) want to know the person who will be with your child seven hours a day.

Provide various types of contact information. Email is the main method of two-way communication you will have with your child’s teacher. However, your phone number is vital for immediate access to information the teacher may send out via apps like Remind101, ClassDojo, ClassTag, or Bloomz, all of which require a phone number to set up your child’s account.

Respect their time. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—send an email or message to a teacher and expect them to respond in less than 24 hours. It is often a requirement of any teacher to answer parent communication in 24 hours or less, and highly responsive teachers will be immediate. Nevertheless, do not place the pressure of urgency on a teacher for your child’s issue. This will cause the teacher to feel like their time is undervalued in a world where we feel undervalued enough. If there is an issue like a transportation change or illness, of course, send the teacher a message. However, if you child doesn’t remember how to complete #2 on their math homework, it is best not to expect an immediate reply. See upcoming lesson on “Don’t be a Lawnmower Parent” for more information.

View them as experts in their field. Sure, you may have been a math major or an English minor in college, but teachers have a certain set of curriculum standards that they are required to follow to satisfy state testing requirements, so multiplication may not look the same way as it did for you back in the ‘80s. Trust them! If your child is struggling in a certain subject area, reach out to the teacher and ask 1) how you can help your child improve or 2) how the child could be more successful. A good, responsive teacher will be more than willing to help you and your child grow.

Random acts of kindness. If teachers had a love language, this would be it. In a very underpaid and undervalued profession, teachers have to intrinsically motivate themselves day in and day out. Something as simple as a quick email telling them that you appreciate them can go a long way! (Starbucks gift cards do not hurt either.)

Don’t act on emotion. By simply enrolling in this course, you have proven to be an active parent in your child’s life. In this vein, you are more than likely protective of your children and may in fact believe they can do no wrong. However, if there is ever an issue that may arise with your children at school, be it misbehavior, a bad grade you think they did not deserve, or an issue that arose with another student—hear the teacher out before making a judgment call. You are hearing a direct account from someone who just learned to bathe themselves not too long ago, so your child may have a distorted perception of what actually took place. Calmly and rationally communicate with the teacher to listen to what happened, and then decide how you want to proceed.

As you can see, you do not have to be a homeroom parent or volunteer of the year in order to have an effective partnership with your child’s teacher. These small ways can demonstrate that you value education and appreciate the impact they will have on the life of your child. Tomorrow’s lesson will be the importance of reading with your children every day and not just for the obvious reasons!


Recommended book

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross W. Greene Ph.D.


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