Tuesday, September 13th, 2022
Post pandemic most schools are getting back to having regular in person meetings with parents to discuss their child’s work and progress so it’s a good idea to make sure you get the best from these talks. This is especially true if your child has challenges or you have a concern you wish to raise that cannot wait for the next scheduled meeting.
Here's our 6 tips...
1. It may seem obvious, but if you find yourself in the situation where you need some time with your child’s teacher, make an appointment! Dropping in at the beginning or the end of the day is not a good idea if you need the teachers undivided time, they are going to be busy with organising the day and the children, so schedule a time that works for you both.
2. Having an appointment, whether it’s for a regular termly chat or a meeting you have asked for, gives you time to organise your thoughts and be well prepared. Make a note of what you want to discuss and maybe even a few questions that would need to be asked, so you don’t forget or get side tracked. This will help steer the conversation and help both you and the teacher problem solve and / or arrive at a solution.
3. Once you have your appointment and you have organised your thought clearly, you need to make sure you express them, concisely, clearly and effectively. This is particularly true if you are raising an issue that be not be easily resolved. The teacher and the school need to have a clean understanding of your issue, give examples and always be prepared to listen. the key to effective communication is for it to be two-way! Share information about your child that will help the teacher. Teachers appreciate knowing ‘inside’ information about the children to help them succeed.
4. Stay calm and focused throughout the meeting. Many parents become very emotional when discussing their child so staying calm is essential. Losing your temper is almost always counterproductive and causes both people in the meeting to become defensive. Ask someone to go with you if you feel you may struggle to remain calm.
5. Plan for future communication, If a problem was identified during your meeting, you'll want to work with your child (and child's teacher) toward a solution. Actionable plans and practical outcomes are best, set small, tangible goals.
6. Respect the teacher’s ability and the part they play in your child’s life. Teachers are partners in your child’s education and the large majority of teachers are capable of doing their job well and care a great deal about the children they teach. Respect the teacher and the teacher will treat you with respect.
Having a positive relationship with your child's teacher can help your child be more successful in the classroom. Parents should expect their child's teacher to hold shared information confidential, and should be confident in discussing cognitive and social development, as well as family events, with him or her.
Trust that even if you disagree or have different styles of communication, you both have a commitment to the child. Be fair, but in situations where you feel you don't have a parent-teacher partnership, or that the teacher isn't producing results, seek out the counsel of the school administration for tips or help with resolve the issue you are concerned about.