Communicating with Your Child's Teacher
Aug 29, 2018 Clinical Expertise
Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year and the new opportunities it brings to both you and your child. Whether your child is on the Honor Roll or has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), consistent and meaningful communications with their teacher(s) will help to ensure the year goes smoothly. These communication strategies can help:
- Initiate Communications Early: No one knows your child better than you so start each school year by sending a brief introductory note or email to their teacher(s). Introduce your child by letting the teacher know their strengths, any educational concerns, health issue, home concerns, etc. (Teachers’ email addresses are usually found on the school’s website.) This is also a good time to let the teacher know the best way to contact you (e.g. email, phone, text). Consider sending these at the beginning of the school year or any time your child is assigned a new teacher.
- Be Proactive and Not Reactive: Don’t wait for a small concern (e.g. a low test score) to turn into a big concern (e.g. a bad report card) before you reach out to their teacher. These communications can be done by phone, email or even text but the most meaningful ones are usually face-to-face. Even if your child is doing well in school, be proactive by communicating regularly with their teacher.
- The Dos and Don’ts: It doesn’t matter if you are meeting with one teacher or an entire Exceptional Student Education (ESE) referral team, arrive on time. If you are running late, be sure to call. Before the meeting starts, do not forget to ask what time the meeting will end. Knowing time parameters helps everyone prioritize and stay on task. Keep in mind, the meeting is about your child so every minute is important. Bring a list of your questions or concerns so you can make sure everything is addressed. Don’t feel rushed. If needed, schedule another meeting to finish up. Don’t corner teachers for impromptu conferences when you run into them outside the classroom. A busy hallway, the parent pick up line or even the grocery store are not ideal locations for important conversation about your child.
- Repeat to Clarify: It is often easy for conversations to be somewhat confusing in school meetings, especially ESE related meetings. During the meeting get clarification by repeating back information. “Did I understand you to say….?” At the end of a meeting, briefly summarize what was discussed. “So let me make sure I’m clear on everything….”
Are you interested in learning more about being an effective communicator? Please join us for our next Parent Workshop where we will provide additional strategies to enhance communication with your child’s teacher. For information, please email Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org.