You two are going to be interacting all year, so why not start your relationship on the right note? LCP pulled together a few tips to get—and stay—in a teacher’s good graces.
• Do send the first email. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the year, to show the teacher you’re supporting her—and your child. “It’s easier after you take that first step,” said Barrie Crimmins, a kindergarten teacher at Mount Pleasant Academy.
• Don’t go overboard with texting. These days, some teachers might not mind the occasional text from a parent for quick questions (ask first, of course). That said, if it’s late at night or the problem is minor, holding off until the next will likely be appreciated.
• Do ask what can be done outside the classroom. Crimmins said she feels supported when parents tell her, “if there’s anything I can do at home, just let me know.”
• Don’t wait until something small morphs into something big. If your child is getting bullied or he or she is falling behind, get in touch with the teacher right away.
• Do follow the teacher’s policies on snacks, birthdays, etc. In many schools, the days of a student bringing in a couple dozen cupcakes on a holiday are long gone. Get familiar with the rules before attempting to send in treats.
• Don’t let communication fall off as kids get older. While middle and high schoolers are more autonomous, still consider emailing teachers or saying hello at an open house, to let them know you’re there if they (or your child) need anything. It’s not the same as reading to your first grader’s classroom, but if a problem comes up, you two won’t be meeting in an already-tense situation.
• Don’t adopt an “us vs. them” attitude with your child against the teacher. Most teachers are on your side and have your child’s best interest at heart. With that in mind, don’t automatically believe your child instead of the teacher. Remember that your child is not perfect and the teacher may see a side of her that you don’t have a chance to see at home.