Do’s and Don’t’s of communicating with your child’s school

The school year is well and truly underway, and children and teachers should be right in the process of getting to know each other. After a few weeks at school, often parents start to wonder “how is my child going?” Here are some handy hints about how to develop a positive working relationship with your child’s teacher and school:

  • DO be involved in the school in whatever way you can. If you are able to, volunteer for parent roles, attend special days and events, or join governing councils and committees. If you have a presence in the school, it helps in the ability to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher, which can only benefit your child. Even if work or other commitments mean that you aren’t able to be there during the day, often schools hold information sessions or community events in the evening or during weekends.
  • DON’T expect immediate replies to emails, especially if written late at night. Teachers are not on duty 24/7 and deserve a break too.
  • DO read the newsletters and keep updated on information on the school website. The greater understanding you have about what your child is doing at school, the easier it is to ask the right questions to understand how your child is progressing.
  • DON’T let issues build up to become major problems. If you are concerned about some aspect of your child’s learning, be sure to speak to the teacher about it.
  • DO use the set processes and procedures. Sometimes it is tempting to take issues to the ‘top’ by going straight to the principal but that can have a detrimental impact on the relationship between you and your child’s teacher. Often the principal will direct you right back to the teacher in any case.
  • DON’T feel intimidated by teachers. Some parents have had negative experiences in their own schooling and may feel nervous about talking to or questioning teachers. Be assured that the teacher wants your child to be happy and successful, just like you do. It is a partnership that is working towards the same goals.
  • DO make a time to speak to your child’s teacher if you have something to discuss. The rush of morning drop off or afternoon pickup is not ideal for the teacher or you to go over important issues about your child. Arrange a set time so that both you and the teacher can give full attention to the issue at hand.

Remember that one of the best predictors of a child’s achievement at school is parental involvement and engagement in their education. Developing a positive partnership with your child’s school can help improve their academic outcomes, their levels of motivation and their enjoyment of education. This is what both parents and teachers want for kids! Keep in mind some of these tips to enjoy a positive and successful partnership with the school to help your child succeed.

Rebecca Rossi, Psychologist

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