Parent-teacher communication is important in helping your child throughout their education. I loved getting to know my first grade students, and the more communication I had with their families/caregivers, the better equipped I was to support my young student. Many times a note or email sent to your child’s teacher will be sufficient to share or ask for information. Sometimes, a note isn’t enough and a phone call is needed. Here are some good reasons to call the teacher:
1.Your child has anxiety that interferes with their normal at home routines and doesn’t want to go to school. Something that may seem trivial to you can be huge to a child – so always take their concerns seriously and if they don’t improve with your help, contact the teacher.
2. Homework is a constant battle and I helped many parents understand the expectations of homework and sometimes we worked as a team to make a child more accountable and make homework time more manageable and pleasant.
3. There is a major life change such as separation/divorce, a death in the family, a pending move,or a new baby. Many caregivers are reluctant to share personal sensitive information, but it can help the teacher and school staff support your child as they are going through a difficult time or big changes at home. Children’s learning is impacted by their personal lives. If something is bothering them, some of the energy they use for learning/socializing is not available because they are distracted. Most schools have a social worker who can help your child through a difficult time. The school can be a great support to families in times of change or need.
4. You have heard some gossip from your child or other person about school or your child’s teacher, and it is really bothering you. Go straight to the source for accurate information and save yourself a lot of worry and frustration.
5. You are worried your child is behind academically. This is a tricky one especially for young children. It’s normal to want to talk to the teacher to know how your child is doing but the first few weeks of school are all about settling into routines so don’t expect the teacher to have a lot to share right away. Usually by the time the first conference rolls around the teacher will have a wealth of information to share. Consider that if your child’s teacher was concerned, they would have contacted you. If the teacher has indicated your child is struggling, ask the teacher to communicate progress periodically so you are all moving in the right direction working towards the same goals.
6. Your child is being bullied. Don’t wait on this and expect your child to handle it. The teacher and administration always need to be aware of bullying behavior, whether it occurs on the bus, classroom, or playground. Our kids need to feel safe at all times and need to know adults will intervene on their behalf when necessary. Expect the school staff to investigate and remediate the situation.
Keep in mind that the teacher may not be able to speak with you when you call and will have to return your message after they are done working with their students or during a break in their day. Be respectful of their time but know that they value your input. You are a critical partner in the education of your child!
Be respectful and positive and keep those lines of communication open. Your child will thank you for it!