Another year usually means a new teacher/s for your child. So what can you do to build a relationship with them?
Check your own assumption and beliefs.
We all have an idea of what teaching is like and an opinion of what should be done – we all went to school and were taught by teachers weren’t we? These experiences can have been good and not so good but for most of us they were a long time ago. Memories of teaching and your best teacher or worst teacher can become stereotypes of teaching that can profoundly influence how we react in schools to teachers (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012). Society today is not like it was when we went to school and so to teaching. Teaching today has changed to match the incredible change in society today and just like society it is “complicated not simple” (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012, p.78).
2. Understand that teaching is complicated and that the teacher faces demands from different people.
Sometimes these can be conflicting demands. Although it is understandable to want the best for our child, our child is not the only one in the class and sometimes the focus needs to be on what is good for the whole class.
3. Be aware of your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
They will be different for each child. Reread last year’s report card and discuss it with your child. Come from a position of their strengths.
4. What aspirations do you have for your child/children?
Are they yours or based on your child’s interests. Ask your self are you living the achievements you didn’t have through your child? What expectations do you have – eg. An A in English- is that realistic based on last years report card. How are you going to share these with the teacher and find out their expectations for the year especially of behaviour in class.
5. Meet the teacher.
By now you will have probably meet with the teacher if not make time to do so. Exchange what is the best form of communication that works for both of you but remember your child is not the only one in the class and it is realistic to allow a few days for an answer to be returned. Also teachers also need family time of their own. Weekends are not really appropriate time to email.
If you would like more parental engagement advice or tips on building a relationship with your child’s teacher visit:
- Carr-Gregg, M. (2014). Strictly Parenting everything you need to know about raising school-aged kids. Penguin Group, Australia.
- Hargreaves, A & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital transforming teaching in every school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Government App: Learning Potential – contains really good activities that you can do with your child at different ages. Available free from App store.
Great fact sheet put out by ACT Government on how to communicate with school
More can be found here: