One of the most memorable moments of my first year of teaching was a phone call from a parent. After discussing her child’s failing grade, she stated that her child didn’t like me. I apologized, and said that while there may have been a personality clash, I cared about her child’s success. She replied, “He be sayin’ you a b*tch… FO REAL!” My wit got the best of me, and I replied, “Well, he’s gonna fail my class… FO REAL!” We were able to laugh about it later, but for many teachers and parents, working together can be difficult.
Being a parent, your natural instinct is to want to protect your child the best you can. No parent wants to hear that their child is struggling in school, socially or academically, and often times, they assume that the teacher is to blame. While there are some “nightmare teachers” out there, the truth is that nearly all of the teachers I know genuinely care, and want your child to succeed.
If your child is school-age, you’ve probably encountered a variety of teachers, or you will soon. Some of your kid’s teachers will be fabulous -- your child will love them, and will learn and grow immensely in their classroom. Others may not have quite the same affect. Whether your personalities “clash”, you have a genuine concern or your child just plain doesn’t like the teacher, here are ten tips on getting along with the “other” adult in your child’s life.
1.) Make contact. Teachers want and need to get to know the parents of their students. Attend back to school night, parent conferences, or open house. If your child’s class takes field trips, try and chaperone if possible. If work or other obligations prevent you from doing that, make a phone call or send an email. Introduce yourself, and let us know how best to get in touch with you and anything important we should know. By opening communication early on in your relationship with the teacher, you make them much more likely to alert you to any issues early on, to report good things and to involve you in their child’s life at school.
2.) Introduce your child. Tell us what you think we deserve to know. For example, I had a student who had a severe hearing problem, but his parents didn’t want him to be treated differently or wear a hearing aid. When I inadvertently seated him in the back of the room and he stopped doing his work, his parents were insistent that I change his grades. Simply moving him to the front of the room allowed him to hear without being embarrassed, and allowed me to be much more effective. Does your kid struggle with reading? Get embarrassed easily? Despise algebra? Let us know how we can best serve your child.