Parent Teacher Communication: Dos and Don'ts

Setting up good parent-teacher communication is instrumental to your child's school success. Here's how to team up with your kid's teacher.

By Sharon Duke Estroff



Parent Teacher Communication: Dos and Don'ts

Putting your child's concrete goals in action is a lot easier (and more effective!) when you’ve got a great bond with his teacher. After all, she may spend more waking hours with your child than you do — and see behaviors that you might miss. Follow these do's and dont's in order to forge a strong connection:

Do lay the groundwork for a friendly partnership by telling the teacher how excited you are that your child is in her class. And share the goals you set with your kid. She’ll appreciate your proactive approach.

Don’t dictate your expectations. Saying, “Noah’s mastered his times tables, so you can put him in the highest math group” puts your opinion above her observations. Let her assess your child’s needs.

Do stay on top of class events by reading her notes or website posts.

Don’t call the teacher at home unless it’s an emergency. E-mail or phone the school to set up a time. And don’t hit her up at open house or school assemblies with personal questions about your kid.

Do send thank-you notes once in a while. (“Sam really enjoyed making slime during science yesterday.”) Teachers love knowing they matter in a child’s life.

Don’t bad-mouth the teacher within earshot of your child. Even if you think she’s the Wicked Witch of the West, you need to present a united front, or your child will lose interest in her teacher, and possibly learning.

Do make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep (it’s the number one request from most teachers!). Tired children have a harder time focusing and may become overly silly or emotional in class.

Don’t talk to the principal about your classroom concerns before you’ve addressed them with the teacher first.

Do be understanding. Teachers face a difficult job: Balancing the academic, social, and emotional well-being of a roomful of kids, plus keeping parents happy, isn’t easy!

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