Why Parent-Teacher Relationship Matters

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parent teacher conferenceI am a teacher.

I am a parent.

I know the relationship between parents and teachers is one of the most important for your child’s success in school.

Especially if school is not one of your child’s favorite things. 

All kids are different. Some will come home excited to tell you about every little detail of their day, while others withdraw after school and it’s like prying teeth to get them to tell you even one small thing that they did.

And sometimes a child can make the parent-teacher relationship awkward.

All teachers are different. Some will send home 50 emails a week and papers upon papers home in the backpack, while others will only communicate when absolutely necessary.

And sometimes a teacher can make the parent-child relationship awkward.

All parents are different. Some will send detailed excuses for absences with updates every hour, some you will never be able to get a hold of no matter how hard a teacher tries.

If you are a parent, that is the last thing you want for your child.

What can you do to facilitate a good parent-teacher relationship:

Communicate early

Don’t make parent-teacher conferences the first time you communicate with your child’s teacher. If your child’s teacher sends out some beginning of the year forms for you to fill out, be sure you do so thoroughly and promptly. If they don’t send anything home, send them something that tells the teacher a bit about you, your family, and any ideas you have for how to be a partner with them this year.

Come to parent-teacher conferences

Usually, there is a lot to talk about during parent-teacher conferences. It’s a great way to touch base on what has been happening in the classroom. Be sure to have a few things that you notice and want to talk about. Having these set-aside times to talk about academic, social, and or work habit topics is a great thing.

Communicate often

Think about the parent-teacher relationship as a vital relationship for your child’s success in school. You want to be a strong partnership with easy communication so if problems do come up, they can get resolved quickly, because that relationship is already established.

Respect boundaries

Teachers have families and lives outside of school. Many times those boundaries get blurred and pushed back, but it’s not reasonable to expect a teacher to respond to an email after school hours. Many times teachers will do this, but if this doesn’t happen, no offense should be taken. 

Don’t make excuses for your child

We all love our children, but we aren’t going to be doing them any favors by defending behaviors their teacher might have concerns about. Instead of making excuses for your child, work with your child and their teacher to get to the root of the behavior that is troubling. Only then you can figure out the why and how to find a solution.

Assume good intent

The overwhelming majority of all teachers I have worked with and met over the years are well-suited for the job. Are we perfect? Absolutely not. If problems do arise, try to assume the teacher was well-intentioned. It’s a tough job and in my experience teachers do the best they can with what they have. But we do have bad days, and we do make missteps. If you have a concern, please remember to approach it in a way that gives the teacher the benefit of the doubt. And please DO address it. Teachers want to know if something isn’t sitting right with you or your child.

It’s a relationship

Whether it be parent to teacher, teacher to parent, student to teacher, or student to parent, the key to remember is that these are all important relationships. They are relationships to nurture. If any one of these relationships breaks down, that’s when we may see some struggling happening inside the classroom. Generally, these struggles are pretty easy to fix if everyone involved is open and solutions-based in the approach. So get out there and don’t be afraid to get to know your child’s teacher!

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Jennifer is a single mom of two boys. She does her best to get to places on time, despite being a chronically late person and the fact that neither she or her boys are morning people. She recently went back into the classroom after staying home for nine years to raise her kids, and she credits her sanity and success at this endeavor to the fact that she has incredibly supportive parents, family, and friends. She also has a network of single moms that truly “get it” and who encourage her on a daily basis. When she’s not hanging out with her kiddos, Jennifer enjoys writing at a coffee shop, trying new restaurants, or catching up with friends.

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