I nearly ran over one of my children the other day with the pram. I was turning left, he was standing there, and low and behold, I ran over his toes…again. “How did that happen!?” I thought to myself and the answer was very obvious: I didn’t tell him where I was going or what I was thinking. To him, an unreasonable person ran him over. To me, an unreasonable person got in the way.
Sometimes, the parent-teacher relationship is ike this; without appropriate communication, one or both parties can get very confused about where they're both headed!
As a parent, I expect a teacher to be a compassionate, sensible person who will listen to me about my child. As a teacher, I expected a parent to be a compassionate, sensible person who would listen to me about my student.
GASP!!! Similar expectations!!
Here’s my top 5 tips on how can we work together to achieve our common goal of success for our King’s kids:
- Start with a smile and a happy introduction. Seriously, come across somewhere between Pollyanna and Mary Poppins and you can’t go wrong.
- Until you are otherwise informed, please believe that no matter how it looks, your child’s teacher is there because they like children and they want to see them learn and grow. Please trust me when I say teachers are not in it for the money.
- If you need to approach the teacher about a problem, try to take some time beforehand to evaluate what it is you want to achieve. If you go in with a calm clear, goal, you might be surprised to find out the teacher wants the same thing!
- If something is likely to affect your child, tell the teacher, ahead of time if possible. On the whole teachers are really kind empathetic people and if your Grandma is ill, or if there was something uncharacteristically distressing at home that morning, the teacher will want to know so they can take it into account in regard to their expectations of the child. People have a remarkable capacity to be kind in tough times. I will never forget the time I told a high school class I needed them to behave well as I was struggling with the fact that my mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. Every single child in the room, behaved well that whole lesson. If people understand what you need, they’ll be in a much better position to give it to you.
- Agree with the teacher in public, have your disagreements with the teacher in private. (Or in simple terms, neither the teacher nor the parent should badmouth the other to the child!) The happiest children I have seen are those who realize there are no loopholes in their life. None, not ever. If little Johnny comes home with what sounds like a completely irrational tale, comfort him, hug him, kiss him, tell him you love him and that you’ll have a chat with the teacher tomorrow to hear all about it. Do not abuse the teacher, tell Johnny the teacher is unfair, promise Johnny he won’t have to do that detention and rant and rave! All this teaches Johnny is that Mum and Dad will get him out of any trouble he finds himself in. If you are in any way concerned, call the school, make an appointment to see the teacher.
So, to summarise:
- Introduce yourself with a smile
- Believe the teacher wants the best for your child
- Go with a calm, clear goal
And then see if the two of you can make this amazing parent-teacher relationship work…