If your child is one of the projected 56 million elementary or high school students heading off to school this fall in the United States you may be wondering what you can do to make things go more smoothly. Fortunately, one of the best ways to help your child succeed in school is fairly easy—communicate with his or her teacher regularly.
Students do best when parents and teachers work together as a team. Classroom teachers are experts in education. But no one knows more about your child than you. The start of a new school year is a good time for establishing open communication patterns with your child’s teacher. Remember, it’s just as important for you to talk with teachers about issues at home that may affect your child’s school performance as it is for teachers to report how students are doing in the classroom.
Here are some suggestions for things to discuss with your child’s teacher, offered by education specialist Emily Graham. (For additional information see her article at SchoolFamily.com)
Things to Discuss
1. Health Conditions: Allergies, diabetes and asthma are things teachers should know about. Also talk about situations like ADHD, which may affect behavior or concentration.
2. Family Issues: Major Changes (such as divorce, death of a family member or a move) are stressful. Alert the teacher to watch for behavior changes, even if your child seems to be doing OK.
3. Personality Traits and Special Interests: If your child is unusually shy or prone to throwing tantrums it’s best to make teachers aware of these issues before they become a classroom problem. Also, if teachers know about students’ hobbies and interests they can forge a connection more quickly.
4. Learning Styles: You’ve spent years teaching your child—from potty training to tying shoes to riding a bike. You have a good idea of your child’s learning style. Share strategies that work well for your child.
5. Strengths and Weaknesses: Maybe your daughter is a whiz at solving math problems but is embarrassed to read aloud. Or your son loves to study history but struggles with science lessons. If you talk about these things up front, teachers will have more time to help your child improve in the areas needed most.
Sharing this type of information with teachers will help them better understand your child’s needs and lay the groundwork for a cooperative relationship throughout the coming school year.