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School Success ~ 3 Top Ways to Partner with Your Child's Teacher

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Your child's teacher is an important partner in raising your child. Having been a teacher, a counselor, and a parent, here are some tips for partnering with your child's teacher. They'll promote your child's success and help his teacher too.

1. Be Respectful to Your Child's Teacher When You Have a Concern:

I remember a father who waited for me in the teachers' lounge. I looked forward to seeing him because I had nothing but good things to say about his son. Before I could speak, the father said, "You're not doing enough for my son." I was stunned. He went on to say,

Why didn't he get all A's? The fact that he had a few B's means you're not giving him the attention he needs.

This well dressed professional man spoke with such arrogance and disgust. I cringed a bit and felt defensive.

When I recovered and with the most respectful voice I could muster, I said, "Your son was the star of our 3rd grade school play. He was terrific. Parents, grandparents, and relatives filled the auditorium. Why weren't you and your wife there?" He backed down a bit. I also made suggestions on how he could enrich his son at home. The bell rang for class and with relief, we parted.

If you don't think your child's teacher is doing enough for him, don't attack. Find out how you can enrich his learning at home. His teacher will be pleased by your willingness to partner in his education.

2. Volunteer to Help in Your Child's Classroom:

What could you do? You could plan class parties, listen to kids read, design a holiday bulletin board, and help with arts and crafts.

Each is an opportunity for your child's teacher to know more about your child by knowing you. Your child will be delighted and realize how important school is to you. He may try harder too.

If you can't spend much time at school, perhaps you could pick up test papers and correct them. Ask his teacher how you can help. The time you give is a wonderful way to partner with your child's teacher. It gives the teacher time to focus on kids who need extra help too.

3. Actively Participate in the Parent Teacher Conferences:

Every day after my first graders went home; I made sure to hang their papers on the bulletin boards that spread across the room. I knew it was important for them to search for their school work the next morning. They'd find it and tell their friends, "Look, there's my picture!" I enjoyed seeing them smile.

To be a first grade teacher takes lots of time, work and energy. I didn't examine each child's paper before I posted it. One day when I met with a mom at our parent child conference. We walked to the bulletin board to view her daughter's art work.

The mother said, "Isn't that interesting?" Her daughter had drawn 2 houses. One was the daughter and her mom outside the first house. Outside the other house she stood with her dad. Her mother confided, "She's expressing what she's feeling about our upcoming divorce." I looked again and saw the sad expression on her daughter's face as she stood by each parent in her picture. I had no idea that her parents were divorcing. From then on I gave her child more positive attention.

At the school conference you have the opportunity to share significant things in your child's life with her teacher. At that moment, you and her teacher can make a plan to help your child.

Conclusion for Your Child's School Success:

When you have a concern about your child, approach his teacher with respect. Ask questions. Find out what you need to know. Avoid accusing. Help out in the classroom. Make sure you attend parent teacher conferences. Becoming a partner supports your child's success and his teacher too. Everybody wins.

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Pick up your copy of Parents As Teachers - 137 Teaching Ideas from Birth to 9 Years and enjoy the fun of teaching your child the tools for success.

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