As a teacher, I’ve always told the parents that I interact with that I am here to work with them as a teammate. I want to see their child succeed and I want to work along side the parent to make sure there is consistency on behalf of the child. Having a successful parent-teacher partnership holds some important value, as well.
According to PBS, having a positive parent-teacher relationship can lead to success in school. It shows that your child can trust his teacher, because you do. Now I get it, there will be times when you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with your child’s teacher; but we both still want that end goal of success in school. So what can we do?
Here are some steps to make sure the parents and the teachers are all a part of one team.
1. Communication: This step easily creates a gateway of opportunities for success. I like to tell myself “if you don’t ask, you won’t receive”. If I need to know something in order to benefit my student (for example, their schedule), I need to ask in order to get my information. I would like to think that the same goes for the parents, as well.
If the parent wants/needs to know details about what is going on in school, or maybe the parent wishes to talk about options regarding optimal learning, the parent needs to approach the teacher. There are many communication styles available these days; from email, phone calls, conferences, and messaging, the team is bound to find a mode of communication that works best for them.
2. Relationships: According to guidance counselor, Linda Lendman, “this is one of the first relationships with an adult your child may have outside of the family unit.” This means that you are helping your child build a skill of learning how relationships work, develop, and unfold.
Come to this parent-teacher relationship with respect and watch how your child’s relationship with their teacher develops. You child spends a lot of time in the classroom, and you want them to have a positive experience, without possible negative predispositions about the adult role model in the room.
3. Remember your own experiences: Think on your own elementary experiences and I am sure you will remember teachers you both liked and disliked. Try and keep that in mind when working with your child’s teachers. When your child is in a class with someone you connect with, that is a great set up for a positive parent-teacher relationship!
However, if you find yourself not necessarily agreeing with the teacher, take a step back and remember the goal: success in a positive school environment. Remember to respectfully ask for what it is you want/need on behalf of your child. Understand that there will always be people you and your child won’t agree with, but how are you going to use this as a learning opportunity in fostering positive/meaningful relationships.
I truly hope these steps help you find peace in knowing that successful parent-teacher relationships are attainable. This relationship will take attention, time, and work, just like any other but it can be so rewarding in the benefits your child will see. As a teacher, I want you to know that we are all in it together, we’re a team!