I really want to work well with my child's teachers this year. What should I do
to get off on the right foot?
sure your child is fed, rested, groomed, properly dressed and hugged. Family
breakfasts are a terrific way to start the day. It's hard to beat a family prayer
at the breakfast table, too, for giving a child a good perspective on what the
school day is all about, and staying focused on developing into the best
possible young person of good character and smarts.
the teacher in person as early in the school year as you can. Smile. Shake
hands. Make it clear you are interested in the teacher as a person as well as a
professional. Ask what the teacher is most looking forward to that year. Share
your hopes, too. Be pleasant. Be a friend!
be a critic. Be a coach. Think of yourself as an encouraging boss, and the
teacher as a valued employee. Notice the good things that teacher does. Give
sincere praise often. That's not "sucking up." That's being nice!
the teacher a "touch" now and then. Send a note with something cute or
interesting that your child said about school. Email a webpage that pertains to
something the class is studying.
courteous. Return school paperwork to the classroom the day after it's sent
home. Respond immediately to notes and phone calls from the teacher. Be on time
parents should commit to attending all major school events. That supports the
teacher as well as your child.
your time and talents. Volunteer to change bulletin boards, coach kids for a
speech contest, pull weeds in the school garden, substitute occasionally as a
playground supervisor, or do whatever small tasks you can do to share the
more than you speak to the teacher. Teachers love to teach! So let them. Ask
questions and don't be afraid to look stupid; you won't - you'll just look like
you care. If you show that you have an open mind and are willing to learn about
your child's education, you will influence that teacher, enhance your
understanding and most likely improve your child's school experience.
Homework: Parent Power: 90 Winning Ways to Be Involved and Help Your Child Get the
Most Out of School,
Roberta Kirshbaum, New York: Hyperion, 1998.