Lesson: One of the wisest and most beneficial things you can do to positively affect your child’s education is partner with their teacher!
A typical school day for most children is 7 to 8 hours, which is almost 40 hours a week. This means on an average day, a child spends more time with their teacher or daycare provider than they do with their parents. That’s major! You want this person to be invested with you for the wellbeing, care and education of your child. Being intentional about partnering with your child’s teacher and letting them know that you are on the same team can go a long way in securing the best environment for those 7 to 8 hours your child is not with you.
Below are 5 steps you can take in an effort to partner with your child’s teacher and show support:
1-Make a non-intimidating introduction: At the start of the school year, introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and let them know you are a supportive and involved parent. Provide your direct contact information and let them know that they can reach you regarding your child any ime. How you do this is most important in this step. This is not the time for you to throw around your title or profession or your status in the community. One of the worst things you can do is come off aggressively or intimidating the first time you have a conversation with your child’s teacher(s). You want them to feel like you are ready to be a team player for the success of your child, not a critic.
2- Offer your support without an agenda: Trust me, this step can go a long way! If you have a day off of work or get off of work a few hours early one day, give your child’s teacher a call or shoot them an email and just let them know you have some free time and you want to know if you can help out in any way; do some filing, decorate their door, prep for an art project, etc. Teachers always have a to-do list and taking a few hours out of your day to offer some unexpected support can go a long way. I know you may be saying, “I don’t have time for that!”
I’ll respond to that by saying, “we make time for what we want to make time for!” Making an effort to support your child’s teacher is a small investment that could have a huge return for your child. Right or wrong, teachers tend to go the extra mile for students whose parents are supportive.
3- Pick and choose your battles: As a new mom, I have sharp “momma bear” claws, so I get it. If something is not going well with your child, you are supposed to be their advocate. However, you don’t want to make everything a battle. You do not want to be the parent that teachers and administrators hate to see coming through their door. Use wisdom, when you have a problem or concern that you want to address with your child’s teacher. Get all of the facts before you decide to voice a concern and when you do decide to speak, do it respectfully. Even when there is conflict, you have to remember that your child is still going to be with this person more than they are with you each day. You don’t want to be enemies with this person. One crucial point to connect with this step is, be mindful of what you discuss in front of your child regarding any conflict with their teacher.
4-Greet your child’s teacher: When you see your child’s teacher in the morning or after school, say hello before you start bombarding them with questions and requests.
5-Say “Thank-you”: It should go without saying that teachers and daycare providers work very hard! When my daughter was in daycare her first year, I made it point to say, “Thank you for taking care of my baby girl!” when I picked her up from school. A thank you can go a long way! I wanted her teachers to know that I appreciated them keeping her safe and taking care of her.
At the end of the day, you won’t get to hand pick every teacher your child gets but you can make a conscious decision to have the best partnership you can in an effort to make sure your child has a safe and successful school year.
Application: Make a note of the steps you can do this week to partner with your child’s teacher and do them right away.