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How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

By: Exceptional Children's Assistance Center

The classroom teacher is the single most important person affecting your child's education. The teacher has tremendous influence on your child's happiness at school and is the person that spends one-on-one time your child on a daily basis. It is extremely important for parents and teachers to work together to provide a good school experience for each child.

Most teachers welcome the involvement of parents and want to hear your ideas. In fact, many teachers report that they are more motivated to teach a child whose parents are actively involved than one whose parents never seem to care. If the teacher does not want you to be involved, you need to put into practice positive, constructive communication. Praise the teacher for the good things going and keep the lines of communication open by writing notes, making classroom visits, attending conferences, etc. Remember, you have the right to be involved, but exercise that right in a constructive way. Communication needs to be on a regular, on-going basis, not once or twice a year. Some of the following pointers may help:

  1. Make a list of what you want to discuss with the teacher.
  2. When appropriate, praise the teacher for specific things you feel good about. For example, "Mrs. Brown, thank you for spending extra time with Johnny and working on behavior. We really see results."
  3. If you have a problem, discuss the specific things that bother you as they relate to your child. Do not generalize. In other words, you do not say to the teacher, "You are not teaching my child. This is going to be a wasted year." Instead, you say, "The math program does not seem to be working for Johnny. Is there a way we can change it to better meet his needs?"
  4. Approach the teacher to discuss these concerns in a positive, non-threatening way.
  5. Keep the focus on your child, not the teacher's shortcomings. For example, relate specifically how and why a particular behavior modification practice will not work with your child, instead of complaining about the teacher's bad application of a behavior modification program.
  6. Offer assistance in the classroom when possible. Decide with the teacher if this involvement is appropriate for your child.
  7. Offer your time and talents. For example, volunteer to help with a field trip, tape a textbook chapter for a learning disabled child, etc.
  8. When you make requests or suggestions, illustrate very specifically to the teacher how your suggestions can be implemented. Follow up your requests with a letter of thanks.
  9. Attend all IEP meetings and conferences.

We hope these tips will help make this a good year for you and your child!

Exceptional Children's Assistance Center P.O. Box 16 Davidson, NC 28036 (704) 892-1321 (800) 962-6817 (In NC)