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All main topics / Parenting / Communication

Proactive Parenting: 8 Must-Know Tips For Communicating With Teachers (9 Cards)

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8. Keep an open mind.
Understandably, parents’ chief concern is their children’s educational well-being. But parents should also keep in mind that teachers must balance the need for consistency, fairness, and safety with individual students’ preferences and interests. Sometimes teachers and other school employees are so overburdened that completing basic instructional tasks and keeping students safe borders on the impossible. Try this: Think about how the individual issue that affects your child fits into the teacher’s competing interests and decision-making process. Where a basic need of your child, such as access to a fair education or freedom from discrimination, is at stake, demand that the school meet your child’s needs. But where you personally disagree with the teacher or dislike the decision, consider voicing your opinion to the teacher and letting that end the matter.

By following these tips, parents can make communicating with their children’s teachers efficient, effective, and proactive.
7. Ask for explanations and rationale.
When parents disagree with a teacher’s decision or approach to instruction, anger and frustration can impede effective communication. Try this: Allow the teacher an uninterrupted opportunity to explain the circumstances and rationale for the decisions. Once you have heard the explanation, repeat it back to confirm you understood correctly. If necessary, take time to think over the explanation, perhaps waiting a day to cool down. Then, if the explanation does not satisfy you, explain to the teacher the reasons for your dissatisfaction. Conclude by discussing the next steps in resolving your conflict.
6. Make an appointment before you show up.
Sometimes parents arrive at school without an appointment and ask to see the teacher. This approach causes problems because schools do not have the resources to pull teachers from teaching duties to meet with parents without notice. Moreover, parents who demand to see the teacher or principal immediately can strain limited resources and even cause security problems. The best approach is to make an appointment first. Try this: To make an appointment with a teacher who proves difficult to contact, call the school secretary and ask to speak to the principal or assistant principal. Explain your problem and request that the administrator schedule the meeting.
5. Be patient, but be persistent.
Immediate response to client contact is the top priority in many businesses. In contrast, teachers’ time is prioritized to favor in-class instruction and student supervision. Sometimes after-school meetings or co-curricular responsibilities prevent immediate follow-up to messages. Moreover, teachers must divide limited time among a large pool of students and parents. Don’t expect a return e-mail or call immediately. On the other hand, teachers sometimes lose messages, avoid conflict, or neglect their professional duties, so don’t wait forever. Try this: Allow one full business day after initiating contact for a teacher’s response. Most teachers try to at least acknowledge contact within 24 hours. After one day, send a brief follow-up e-mail and request contact within one more business day. If another business day passes without contact, call the school secretary and ask to be connected to the teacher. Alternatively, you could ask to have a message delivered to the teacher’s work area or classroom. If a full week passes without a response, contact the school’s principal to discuss the situation.
4. Be detail-oriented about dates, responsibilities, and consequences.
Parent-teacher discussions often result in an action plan. Be assertive about clarifying who (teacher, child, parent, counselor) will do what (complete missing work, perform an assessment, check the assignment planner) when (every day, weekly, monthly). Try this: Be prepared for each discussion with a calendar and a place to record notes. As the discussion unfolds, use a bullet-point and new line for each new action to be done. At the discussion’s conclusion, confirm the list of actions and follow-up responsibilities.
3. Use the teacher’s preferred communication method.
The best method for contacting teachers depends on the school’s technology and the individual teacher’s schedule and classroom accommodations. Many teachers prefer e-mail contact. Others prefer telephone calls at work, at home, or on their personal cell phones. Sometimes the best contact method is to call the school secretary to arrange a meeting. Try this: Look over any teacher-provided introductory materials as you fill out start-of-the-year paperwork. Often teachers list their contact information and availability in their syllabus or course description. If you can’t find this information, contact the school secretary and ask about the best contact method.
2. Make contact early, and make it positive.
Contact your child’s teachers during the first month of school. Don’t wait until your child has a negative experience, such as a poor grade on a test or a behavior issue, to plant seeds for a cooperative relationship. Proactive parents who share relevant information help teachers prevent problems. Try this: Before the end of September each school year, send a one-paragraph e-mail to your child’s guidance counselor and teachers. Teachers find information regarding academic difficulties, depression, ADD/ADHD, social issues, shared parenting, and stressful family circumstances especially helpful, so share this information as appropriate. Also, describe your child’s normal personality in two or three adjectives to help the teacher spot mood shifts and out-of-character behavior. Close the e-mail with your most important goal for your child for the school year, and include your contact information.
1. Keep messages short and focused.
Some teachers receive as many as 50 or even 100 e-mails per day. But most teachers have only about one hour of daily preparation time for lesson planning, grading, conferencing, and responding to parent contact. Unfortunately, teachers sometimes skim or skip long or detail-heavy messages because the point of the message is unclear.

Try this: Keep your e-mail or voicemail messages short-no more than one paragraph or 30 seconds of speaking. State your main concern upfront. Follow up with information about how and when the teacher can best return your message. If you find you a short paragraph will not work, schedule an in-person meeting so that everyone has time blocked out to address your concerns fully.
Proactive Parenting: 8 Must-Know Tips For Communicating With Teachers
Parents know that effective parent-teacher communication maximizes the educational benefits of parental involvement. But how should parents deal with unresponsive teachers? And how can parents use communication to help teachers improve results? I crafted these 8 tips for effective parent-communication from essay help service with more than a decade of teaming with public school parents to educate their children.
Flashcard set info:
Author: stevenwalker
Main topic: Parenting
Topic: Communication
School / Univ.: University of Chicago
City: Chicago
Published: 06.05.2019
Tags: teacher, students, school, communication, relations
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