Families feel the start-of-school-year jitters just as much as their children do sometimes. Will my child get along with their peers? What will they learn this year? What school materials do I need to buy? How are they feeling? On top of a slew of other questions, parents wonder what kind of teacher their child will have that year. It goes without saying that your child’s teacher plays a pivotal role in your child’s growth and learning, so it is important to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher early on in the school year! Here are some tips for starting the school year off on the right foot:
There are a variety of ways to do this, but it is important to introduce yourself to the teacher early on. Let them know how you and your child are feeling about the start of the school year. You can say hello during drop off or pick up times. Those few minutes can be a great chance to allow your child’s teacher to get to know who you as well. If it is difficult to go into the school and make face-to-face contact, you can also initiate a quick phone call or even a quick email to say hi, introduce yourself, ask any questions you might have, and open the line of communication between yourself and the teacher. This can also be a good way to inform your child’s teacher about anything you think is important for the teacher to know about your child.
Attend Beginning of the Year School Events
Each teacher will approach the beginning of the year slightly differently according to their style, but usually there will be some sort of beginning of the year school events like a Back to School Night. There may also be classroom-specific events that you are invited to. Try to attend as many of these as possible in order to increase face-to-face contact and to receive any and all information that you might need. Oftentimes at Back to School Night, teachers will share their preferred communication modes, classroom norms, homework needs, and other information that would be helpful for family members.
Offer to Volunteer and Help Out
As much as families have a lot to do to prepare their children for the start of school, teachers also have had tons of work to do to prepare their classroom, lesson plans, and materials. A great way to build a relationship with your child’s teacher is to show that you are willing to help and ask about any ways to help your child’s teacher. This can vary from sending in extra school supplies if possible, to helping to sharpen pencils or sorting materials out. Or, if there are opportunities to help out at various school events, volunteer to help out that way as well. A little or a lot of help goes a long way, and the teacher will be grateful for any help given.
Respect the Teacher & Get to Know Them
Teachers are human beings after all, so as a parent or family member, try to get to know who the teacher is–what their preferences are, why they does things a certain way, and even what kind of person they are. A little respect can go a long way for both parties. Try to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and respect the way that teachers do things in the classroom. If you have a concern, explain it to them in a way that is productive and puts your student’s needs first. As you get to understand the teacher better, the teacher will also see that you are on their team and both family members and teachers will be able to partner together for the best for their children!