A successful school year begins with teamwork — between you, your child and your child's teachers. As your child heads back to school, consider these suggestions for building a positive, collaborative relationship with his teachers:
- Treat the teacher as an expert. Be positive in your attitude and approach, making it a habit to contact the teacher under positive circumstances. Showing up only when you want to discuss a problem can push a teacher into defensive mode as soon as you walk through the door.
- When discussing your child, start many of your questions with, "What can I do? . . ." Let the teacher know you and your child are taking responsibility for learning.
- Recognize that there are practical limitations on what the teacher can do. If your child needs to follow a certain system for keeping track of homework, create the paperwork yourself so that the teacher needs to only fill in a few blanks.
- Don't rely solely on the information you get from your child about a particular incident. Naturally, your personal loyalty rests with your child, but do your best to look at the situation objectively and see it through the eyes of the teacher.
- Discuss the conversations you have with the teacher openly with your child. Emphasize the positive areas that you and the teacher discussed, and brainstorm how to use those strengths to improve in other areas.
- Help your child understand and value a variety of teaching methods. Every teacher is a lesson in learning. By helping your child appreciate the unique styles of different teachers, you’ll prepare him to use his strengths to cope with life's many other differences.
Click here for worksheets on communicating with your teacher about your child's learning style.
This article appeared in the August/September 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. It was adapted from The Way They Learn. Copyright © 1998 by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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