With the holidays in full swing, parents can often feel a bit in the dark about how their children are spending the larger part of each weekday’s waking hours. Checking in at the end of the day and hearing stories about lessons, friends, and other daily occurrences paints a picture, but sometimes it can be hard to truly imagine how this educational time all comes together for our kids. The component that can help bring that school day view into a clearer focus is an understanding of the teacher(s). Who is this person that is teaching, disciplining, engaging, caring for, and protecting our children on a daily basis? By building a positive parent-teacher relationship, parents are one step closer to understanding the ins and outs of a child’s time spent in the classroom.
Making a personal connection.
It’s important to remember that teachers are people too. Yes, it is their job to work with our kids, but they also have families and other outside interests just like the rest of us. Be mindful of that. Ask about their kids or their favorite sports team or a unique hobby or interest your child noted that they have. While they may be in the business of teaching, the very nature of a teacher is to be a nurturer, and having a parent take the time to nurture a positive relationship speaks volumes.
Respecting their expertise.
Keep in mind that teachers are the trained professionals in this scenario. Most people wouldn’t receive it well if someone from the outside came in and told them how to do their job; teachers are no different. While it may not be apparent initially, there is a method to what may at first seem like the madness. Express an interest in a strategy or activity that is different than how you remember being taught. Teachers are passionate about what they teach and how they do so. Taking a positive interest in those methods is a great relationship builder.
Sharing the highlights.
Teachers want to create positive relationships with all of their students. Parents are experts when it comes to their kids, so sharing some insight and highlights about your kids is a great way to keep teachers in the loop and help everyone understand each other. Family illnesses, new additions, outside activity accolades, etc. are great things to share. They can help teachers be mindful of the emotional ups and downs of students who may not be the best communicators. The more information a teacher has, the better he/she will be at helping a student find success. By sharing these highlights, parents help in the building of bridges, and teachers will be forever grateful.
No research-based study is needed to show that a positive attitude and improved performance will stem from someone feeling appreciated. Teachers are no exception. This appreciation doesn’t have to come in the form of a coffee mug or a gift card. The greatest accolades can come from a quick email or short note mentioning an activity your child enjoyed, a positive change that’s been noted, a simple thank you for making a difference in a child’s life, etc. Teachers work hard to create an engaging and supportive learning environment, acknowledging their endeavors can do wonders for making you and your child leave a positive and lasting impression.
A little time and effort is all it takes to build a positive parent-teacher relationship. By taking the time to get to know the people that are so pivotal in shaping our children’s futures, we show our kids that teachers are important and deserve our respect. This can have a huge impact in creating a positive classroom environment and letting all educational stakeholders see that parents and teachers are a team with the common goal of students’ best interests. A positive tone, a genuine interest, and even a short note can go a long way in making the school year a success.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.