Parental involvement enhances student success. A first step toward involvement is communicating with your child’s teacher. Effective communication consists of meeting with the teacher, being a positive partner in the learning experience, and keeping lines of communication open. There are tips for communicating effectively with teachers:
Provide information that will help the teacher get to know your child as an individual. Include relevant information such as allergies, behavior issues (tendency to be distracted, for instance), learning issues, or changes in family life. Ask the teacher about expectations regarding homework and what to do if there are problems with homework.
Find out the best way to contact the teacher. Ask for times when it is convenient to talk. Don’t expect them to be able to talk if you happen to be at the school and run into them.
In e-mail communication, be brief, stick to the point, and don’t use animation, pictures or graphics. Stick to school-related information in e-mail. Be positive and curious. Open with phrases such as “Can we talk about…?” Use “I” statements such as “I’m confused about…” so you don’t put the teacher on the defensive. Be a partner in your child’s learning. Assist with homework, help your child learn time management skills, talk about school matters at home. It may be difficult to hear what teachers have to say if they deliver bad news about your child. Try to focus on solutions and work with the teacher to come up with a healthy plan to help your child learn.