It’s been well-documented that fostering a positive and effective relationship between parents and teachers is crucial for the overall success and well-being of students. Our year 6 daughter has been to two very different schools, and, from a parent's perspective, we have learnt the hard way about how we can help to build better relationships with her school and her teachers. Some things I have learned along the way:
Be respectful and empathetic - We recognise that teachers have a challenging job and are working to support the development of many students. Being confrontational or placing blame doesn’t solve issues any faster; instead, help to collaborate on problem-solving.
Be approachable - Let the teachers know that they can reach out to you if necessary, and encourage them to do so.
Establish open lines of communication from the beginning - Wherever possible, attend meet-the-teacher events, and any other opportunities to discuss progress and needs. Share relevant information about your child's strengths, weaknesses, interests, and challenges.
Stay informed about what the entire school is doing - Sign up for newsletters, emails, or follow social media platforms. Make an effort to read and respond to these updates to show your involvement and interest.
Volunteer or participate in school-related activities and opportunities when possible - We're all busy, but even a small involvement helps to become more familiar with the school environment and staff.
Understand the teacher's expectations for homework, assignments, and classroom behaviour - This helps to avoid misunderstandings and ensures that you can support your child's learning at home. Especially post-Covid, helping to manage behaviours in and out of the classroom has been a hot topic and pain point in many schools.
Encourage learning at home by asking your child about their school day and helping with homework - When teachers see that you're actively involved in your child's education, it can strengthen the parent-teacher relationship.
Express gratitude for the work teachers do - A simple "thank you" note or gesture can go a long way, from both parents and children.
And lastly: Understand that teachers have busy schedules and responsibilities beyond teaching - While it's important to maintain communication, respect their time!