I used SurveyMonkey.com to help with a survey in an attempt to help both parents and teachers build better relationships. These are the tips that were shared regarding how parents can build positive relationships with teachers.*
What can parents do to help build a positive relationship with teachers?
- Contact the teacher with questions or concerns.
- Accept that the teacher is on the child’s side just like you are. They are not the adversary.
- Don’t “bad mouth” the teacher in front of your child. Require your child to respect the teacher.
- Read notices and newsletters that are sent home.
- Participate in conferences, family events and other class or program events that bring families and program staff together.
- Engage with classroom teaching staff regularly (daily, if parent is responsible for drop off and pick up of child). If child is transported by bus, parents can engage with teachers through email, phone calls, etc.
- Depending on availability, volunteering in the classroom, offering to do prep work at home, donating supplies, etc. are additional ways for parents and families to build relationships with teachers.
- Give teachers the benefit of the doubt & trust that they are doing the best they can.
- Answer emails and school info requests promptly.
- Please don’t ask your child’s current teachers to be friends with you on Facebook or other social media platforms. It puts the teacher in a sticky situation because administration typically advises teachers not to do it, but the teacher doesn’t want to hurt the parent’s feelings.
- Offer to help–for some teachers that’s supplies, for others it’s volunteering, whatever they need.
- Support the teachers by working with your child–whether it is on daily homework, math facts, or daily reading, and reinforcing what the teacher has taught or done management wise.
- Assume positive intentions.
- Don’t go on and on about how amazing last year’s teacher was.
- If you have specific concerns, set a meeting right at the beginning of the year. Use this to share information…not make demands. Let the teacher know you are there to be in a partnership.
- Offer help, but if they don’t accept don’t take it personally.
- Remember that teachers are human, just like you are. Treat them as you would want to be treated. They are somebody’s parent, partner, child, too.
- Make appointments. Don’t just show up.
- Realize teachers have personal time – at the grocery store, sporting events, etc. Don’t ask school related questions outside of school.
- Be positive about the teacher around the child. It doesn’t help anyone to put the teacher down.
- Get involved in parent and school activities.
- Slowly share home goals and ask about teacher goals.
- Establish a partnership with trust.
- Parents are asked to read everything that is provided them in a timely fashion. Most often the answers to parents’ questions have already been provided.
- Communicate early in the year regarding any concerns or expectations you have about your child’s learning and/or behavior.
- Send children to school well rested and ready to learn.
- Speak positively about school and learning.
- Start a few weeks early getting your child school ready (e.g. earlier bed time, ready fun books, writing back to school stories to share about summer vacation, etc.)
- Talk to the teacher before assuming everything their child says is the truth.
- Be available and willing to work with the teacher.
- Parents can let the teachers know that they (the parents) won’t believe everything the child says at home if the teachers won’t believe everything they hear at school! More seriously though…be open about what is going on at home and how you are handling it and whether or not it’s working. I’ve learned that my own children often behave better at school than they do at home, so it’s probably also worth seeing if the same things are even happening at school and if not…what’s different???
- Give advanced notice when needing important papers as to not add unneeded stress on either party.
- Email knowing there may be only one time a day there is time to actually check and return emails…hopefully they’re teaching our kids and can’t immediately write back!
- Occasionally ask if there is anything they need- supplies, a guest reader, etc.
- Follow through at home.
- Put more trust in your child’s teacher. There are a lot more good teachers who want your child to be a happy, successful child than not.
- Please don’t ask your teachers to babysit.” Although teachers love being a part of students’ lives, it sends a different message. For instance, do you ask your pediatrician or dentist to babysit? This has happened to me a few times. I was kind of offended at the time, but replied that it would be a conflict of interest and against school policies since I was one of the student’s current teachers.
- When volunteering in the classroom, please respect the teacher’s time and don’t discuss your child’s progress during class…that needs to be reserved for a conference. Also, don’t talk or ask about other students in the classroom. Teachers have confidentuality rules they need to uphold to.
- Be respectful of the teacher’s decisions in the class room. They have the final say so in what happens and should not be expected to change what they have done just because a parent has suggested, asked, and even told them to do so.
- Please don’t ask a teacher about your child while the teacher is attending an event his/her child is participating in. Teachers want to be ‘just parents’ sometimes. Example-I was getting ready to watch my son run out as a first time starter for the varsity basketball team. A parent wanted me to let him in a classroom to get his child’s forgotten book. I graciously explained I would be glad to at halftime. The parent left in a huff.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add?
Thanks to all who participated!