Establishing a healthy teacher-parent relationship can help a child find success in school because the way the adults in their life interact and communicate provides a child with guidance.
To foster good communication, Lisa Mitchell, a library media specialist with the Oregon Trail School District, likes to make phone calls or send emails to parents noting positive aspects of their child’s behavior.
“I try to do this right at the beginning of the school year. Later, if there is a problematic issue, I try to find common ground. Usually the commonality is that we all want the student to be successful,” Mitchell said.
Develop a routine
Encouraging school attendance is one of the most important ways you can help prepare your child for academic success, said Patrick Grady, associate superintendent of Legacy Traditional Schools in Arizona. Students who exhibit regular school attendance early on often see improved grades, learning skills and overall behavior. Moreover, parent involvement has a positive and direct impact on school attendance, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“When preparing for school, give you and your child enough time to get ready in the mornings and evenings,” Grady said. “Set a bedtime routine to have your child pick out clothing and shoes to wear, as well as pack their backpack with assignments. Follow a set bedtime and wake-up time to stay on track. Don’t forget breakfast. A study by the Food Research & Action Center found that breakfast has a direct correlation on behavior, participation and overall performance in students.”
Attending back-to-school night and introducing yourself to the teacher is a great step in building a relationship, said Mike Kawula, founder of HelpATeen.com, a site devoted to helping teens learn real world skills to stand out in the college application process and in the job market.
As a parent, Kawula shares his teen’s strengths, challenges and style of learning in an introductory “hello” email to a new teacher.
“This helps tremendously, and they’re always appreciative,” he said. “I let them know we’re both in this together for encouraging children to learn. However we can assist, we’re here. It’s a simple email and quick, but we’ve always developed great relationships.”
“Parents should have an easy way to reach teachers quickly and directly, such as email. However, at the same time, teachers need to establish boundaries in order to manage parent expectations,” said Rachel Kamath, a former kindergarten through 12th grade Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher in New York City, Los Angeles and Minnesota. “For example, give parents a reasonable time frame to respond to their emails, so that they know they can expect a response at the end of the school day. If those boundaries aren’t made specific from the get-go, it can result in frustration on both sides.”
Be open to listening
“Too often, parents dread phone calls from teachers and administrators. That doesn’t always have to be the case,” said Erin Frey, second grade teacher, Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy. “Celebrate positives that students are doing. Share those little victories and let parents know the successes students are experiencing in class. Building up these connections strengthens your team and ultimately helps the student grow with a positive support system.”
—Melissa Erickson | More Content Now