One of the most important and difficult things about sending your child to school is establishing great parent and teacher communication. Some parents and some teachers are great at it but others, not so much.
Our children benefit from talk about and with teachers and parents. Parents should be asking specifics from the children about their school day. They should ask about each subject, topics and learned items. This review helps the student cement their learning for the day and makes the student focus more in class so they have something to report.
It is better if the parent knows what is going on in class. Making connections to prior knowledge, expanding academic experiences in the home are all supports to education and often very easy if the parent is informed about what is being done in the school.
Great teachers find a way for this to happen. It could be a teacher website, a news letter, an email home or a phone call. With teachers having many students, it can be difficult to establish regular communication. If your child's teacher does not have a method of informing you about what the upcoming week will cover, or seems resistant to communicating these things, it may indicate a lack of planning on the teacher's part and this is not a good thing. All teachers should have lesson plans for the week in advance. It should be easy for them to share this with parents. Then when your child is learning about fractions for example, it could be an opportunity for you to have them bake cookies with you and use fractional measuring cups to demonstrate the everyday usefulness of this skill. No cookies? How about how to cut a pizza and demonstrate how 1/4 is a whole lot bigger than 1/8? Or maybe find an internet source for them to watch about fractions that will assist. Repetition is the key to learning, people integrate information in different ways, some need visuals, some need to read and write, some need practical applications. Working with your child like this will help them to learn.
Regular communication with your child's teacher can aid both parent and teacher to have more effective interactions and assitance for our kids. If something, no matter how minor, has occurred in either setting it may manifest itself in the other. If there is no collaborative communication, significant things can be missed.
Communication can also nip behavioral problems in the bud. If the parent and teacher have good conversation, insights and planful interventions can help teach our kids how they can handle small problems before they become big ones.
Not every parent nor teacher will be excellent at developing this kind of rapport. Both parties must focus on not being argumentative nor judgemental in their language and remember that they must work together to have the best outcome for the child. Parents will find some fabulous teachers and some not so fabulous ones too.
There will always be sensitivity to criticism on both parts. When you find yourself offended, or insulted, try to take a minute before you respond and speak with a trusted resource to explore your best options for handling the situation. If you cannot reach a way to be informed about your child's progress and academic plans, it may be necessary to speak with someone higher up in the school. Teachers cannot speak with every parent every day, not even every week, but they should absolutely be able to provide information in some form to all parents about what is going on in the classroom.
Parents must understand that most teachers are motivated professionals who genuinely like kids and learning. If we start from that premise in our communications, we are in a more positive place to establish a dialogue. Teachers look to parents to support their efforts with children. If you find yourself running down a teacher or thinking that everything that person says is wrong, it is time to take a step back and try to hear what is being said. Teachers can be wrong, but it is a problem if you communicate that loudly and regularly to your child. Children must be open to and respect their teachers for good learning to take place. Behavioral problems will impact an entire classroom and if you are told that your child is having an issue , the teacher is looking to work with you to make the situation better, not worse.
Parents love their children. If the teacher cannot see her/his child in every child, if the teacher does not treat every child the way they would want their child to be treated, the teacher needs some serious introspection into their chosen profession.
Children are just that, little beings in need of education, not just in math or science and literacy but also in problem solving and social interactions. We must all be very careful what we demonstrate because that is what we will reap. Good parent and teacher communication is an important goal for all of us who want to maximize our children's functioning and ultimately, their long term happiness.
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