It is very important to establish a positive parent-teacher partnership in order to see our children be as successful as possible. There are actions that both parents and teachers can take to ensure there is a solid line of communication established and a sense of continuity between home and school. If parents and teachers work together as a team, it will help the child feel more comfortable in both environments because they will feel like everyone is working toward the same goal. Even if you and your child’s teacher have different views or teaching methods, it is important to work hard to understand one another and provide the best support possible for your child.
How to Establish Communication
Establishing a genuine connection with your child’s teacher may seem like a daunting task, as teachers have many different children and parents to balance every day. You might be worried about seeming overbearing or you might not think your child’s teacher will have time to listen to you. It’s important to approach your child’s teacher during appropriate times so they will be able to focus on your conversation. If you walk into the classroom in the middle of storytime, or as the teacher is trying to wrangle wild toddlers during recess, you might not get the same reaction as you would if you had scheduled a meeting beforehand. Just as you wouldn’t want your child’s teacher to call you repeatedly in the middle of an important meeting, treat their time with the same respect and always call or email ahead of time to arrange a time. It is also important to remember that your child’s teacher has your child’s best interest at heart and sometimes they might suggest “homework” for you to work on with your child at home. Try not to take offense when your teacher suggests areas that your child could improve on and how you can help them do so. Remember, they want to see your child succeed and will advocate for your child just as you do!
Another important way to establish and maintain positive parent-teacher partnerships is by hosting and attending gatherings to create a sense of a cohesive community. When your child’s school hosts events such as performances, picnics, parent-teacher conferences, back to school nights, and celebrations, it is incredibly beneficial for you and your child to attend because it helps establish a friendly bond for both sides outside of the normal school environment.
Benefits for Teachers & Parents
When parents want to be involved, it helps teachers have more time to focus on teaching! When teachers have an established line of communication with parents, they will be informed of situations happening at home that might be affecting a child’s focus or behavior, and will be able to be more accommodating for the student in the classroom. If a teacher doesn’t know about changes or difficulties at home, it can be challenging to figure out why a child is acting out at school. “Communication on both sides is extremely important,” says teacher Susan Becker, M. Ed. “The parents need information about what and how their child is learning, and the teacher needs important feedback from the parent about the child’s academic and social development.” By working together, teachers will be able to better support students when they are going through transitions at school, and parents will be able to better support their children when they are going through stressful or challenging times at school.
Benefits for Children
What matters the most to everyone is the happiness and comfort of the child. When children are put between two people who do not agree, it can be very confusing and stressful for them. When they see important adults in their life working together, it makes them more confident and helps them behave and perform better at school and at home. “A positive parent-teacher relationship helps your child feel good about school and be successful in school,” advises Diane Levin, Ph.D., professor of education at Wheelock College. “It demonstrates to your child that he can trust his teacher, because you do. This positive relationship makes a child feel like the important people in his life are working together.”
When parents and teachers work together to form a solid partnership, it leads to increased happiness and focus for children. Continuity and consistency between home and school helps children feel confident and secure, and leads to greater success for the child. There are many ways parents and teachers can work together, such as treating one another with mutual respect, making one another aware of changes at home or in the classroom, and keeping in regular contact with one another. Remember, communication on both sides is extremely important, and will help set your child up for success!