Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Child Hates His Teacher! My Child Loves His Teacher!

Teachers and students have a unique relationship. For 180 days a year, many students are with their teachers MORE waking hours than they are with us. Ouch! How can I, as a parent, help ensure that this relationship is positive for all parties?

#1. Communicate! Your teacher is most reachable by email. Email her or him the first week of school. Doesn't so much matter what you say as long as it is SHORT and SUPPORTIVE. This email will help your child stand out quicker and will get your email in the "easy to reply" category. All student info is in the system but not necessarily user-friendly, up-to-date, or easy to find.
#2. Be Proactive! Do not say to the teacher, "Just let me know if my child needs help or if there is any problem". Your teacher will try to do this anyway but maybe not as quickly as you would like. Why? High school teachers have up to 150 students daily. Even the BEST teacher cannot always report every need, every disturbance, every everything the moment it happens. On the other hand, you probably only have one or two children to keep up with. Don't rely on the teacher to 'let you know'.
#3. Grades are online 24-7 in almost every school now. Watch them at least weekly. Give the teacher a week to grade and post major tests. See a zero? Don't let it slide. Know the makeup policy. "I didn't know is no excuse". Sounds harsh, I know.
#4. Know your child's counselor. Your child, you, the teacher, and counselor can solve just about any problem that arises. Be a team.
#5. If the teacher/counselor are reachable by phone, put their numbers in your phone. I am not saying to bug them or call everyday with trivial concerns. I am saying that if something is really bothering you or your child, do not sit on it. Communicate with the one who knows them best in the entire building, their teacher.

Stay tuned for more tips to come. Share your thoughts too. People like to get ideas from others in the same boat.....especially while everything is still afloat if you get my drift.

6 comments:

  1. Good ideas, here. I'm a teacher and a parent. It would be so nice if more parents took this kind of proactive approach. As I read your post it reminded me of how different staying in touch is now than it used to be. A lot of grandparents are now parenting again. I wonder how familiar and comfortable they are with some of these steps.
    Another thing parents can do is include positive comments to the teacher in the homework file. Just a note saying how much fun a family had with a project, or positive comments about the teacher or student can make my year -- really.

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  2. These are such good tips! Although my little one has a ways to go until he gets to high school, I think communication is key at any age.

    Our teacher, who we adore, sends home a notebook with his name on it and if we have any concerns or need to let her know anything we can jot a quick note. She does the same and it makes it easy to let her know if he's having a bad day-then she can prepare for whatever comes her way.

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  3. In my opinion, one of the worst things that schools have done is put grades online to be viewed 24/7. There are days when a student might not do so well and would rather forget about a failed quiz. It gets to be depressing to look at an F, especially at the beginning of the semester, because it brings the entire average down A LOT. The report cards are all that matter, and seeing every little grade before that is a nuisance and not always a good experience. This approach works for students who care about their grades and push themselves to do their best. Parents tend to take one F wayyy out of proportion and lose sight of the larger picture, the semester grade.

    Basilace
    http://teencollegeeducation.blogspot.com/

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  4. Thanks Teri,
    Positive notes are sooooooo important to teachers. I save them in a book! Thanks for mentioning it.

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  5. Good to see you back, Tatertotmom! Wonderful that you adore your child's teacher this year. Sounds like you have a good communication system in place too. Yea!

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  6. Basilace, thanks for writing. I understand what you mean about having a bad day and then seeing every little bad grade online! On the other hand, if you can catch those bad grades early...the earlier the better....you can get help and fix it before it is too late!

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Love to hear your thoughts! What do you think?