“It takes a village to raise a child” is a proverb which essentially means that it takes an entire community of different people interacting with children in order for them to grow and develop successfully. Each year, parents entrust their children into the hands of their teachers for the greater part of each school day. Children will begin to develop relationships with their teachers from the first day and these relationships will grow as the year progresses.
“As parents, it is essential that we, too, begin developing a healthy relationship with our children’s teachers. Studies have shown that children whose teachers and parents enjoyed solid, trusting, synergetic relationships were significantly more likely to make positive progress throughout the year,” says Cindy Glass, Director and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres.
Cindy gives the following tips to consider on how to create and sustain a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher:
1. Communication is key: Take a moment to meet your child’s teacher. This is, of course, is easier done in the younger grades as most often, a younger child will have one ‘main’ teacher. It will be a lot easier to meet and connect with your older child’s teachers if you make the effort to attend the teacher-parent information evenings that are offered at their school in the beginning of the academic year. Teachers will use these meetings to explain their expectations of learners and their parents. Remember, teachers will not know what YOUR expectations are unless you communicate these. Information that will affect the learning of your child needs to be communicated as soon as these arise.
2. See yourself in partnership with the teacher in your child’s learning: You and your child’s teacher have a common goal; the personal an academic development of your child. Keep an open mind and always remember that the best interests of your child need to be the core focus of any conversation.
3. Remember that your child’s teacher is as human as you are: This means that mistakes are possible and that things may go wrong from time-to-time. Misunderstandings and challenges can severely damage a teacher-parent relationship if not handled swiftly and correctly. Negative teacher-bashing-comments are a sure-way to build walls instead of keeping the lines of communication open. Focus instead on finding positive, amicable solutions as a partnership-with-a-common-goal.
4. Try and get involved in assisting with school activities: This is not always possible for many working parents, but, there may be the rare occasion that an opportunity presents itself to be actively present in supporting the teacher and school. This is a wonderful way to get to know each other better.
“Creating strong inter-personal relationships can take time,” Cindy explains. “How we choose to react to challenges and negative situations in a school setting will influence the outcomes of these essential relationships. Never forget that it takes a village to raise a child. Teachers play a very big role in the lives of all children. Choose to enjoy a positive working relationship with your child’s teacher this year and you will be creating a happier learning experience for all,” Cindy concludes.