When it comes to education and learning, there is no doubt that a child's family and teacher play the most important roles in cultivating their academic growth.
Working to create a strong partnership between home and school can have everlasting positive impacts on your child. Studies have shown that students whose parents are involved in their school tend to do better academically and have fewer behavioral problems. These effects occur regardless of the parent's level of education and home language.
The beginning of the school year is a perfect time to begin building a communicative partnership with your child's teacher. Like doing homework after school or reading for 20 minutes before bed, maintaining this partnership is an important routine to establish. While teachers have their own responsibility to engage with families, parents also play an integral part in the team that is constantly working to make sure your child succeeds.
Here are some tips for parents who are looking to jump start this positive partnership:
- Introduce yourself to the teacher in person. A friendly introduction, whether this happens during registration, back to school night, or during pickups after school, is crucial.
- Initiate positive interactions. A smile or a "how's it going?" goes a long way! Sometimes teachers feel nervous about reaching out to families. Frequent positive interactions will make sure that they will feel comfortable contacting you for anything without hesitation.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences prepared and ready to ask questions! Use our conference guide for suggestions on what questions you can ask such as "What sorts of things can I do at home to support my child's literacy development?"
- Find out which mode of communication works best for your teacher. Some teachers prefer email, others would rather meet in person. Ask your child's teacher if they have a preference.
- Know your rights! Don't hesitate to ask for an interpreter if needed. Authentic communication can't happen where a language barrier exists.
- Understand that teachers & parents want the same thing for their children: to see them succeed! Whenever there is a miscommunication or a frustration, remember that the end goal is the same. However, if you have made multiple attempts to reach out to your teacher with no success the next best step might be to contact admin or your school's family liaison.