You know its almost time for school to start when parents on facebook are counting the days till their kids return to school and teachers are soaking up the remaining days of their vacation before returning back to work. For the first time, I’m not able to take part in this debauchery as my son is now being homeschooled. However, for the past three years, while he attended public school, one thing I always looked forward to was meeting my son’s new teacher and getting to know them.
Because of my son’s disability, I always felt it important to create a strong partnership with his teachers. Our collaboration was necessary. The teachers needed insight on how to best work with my son, and I needed the teachers to successfully teach my son. The one thing I felt I did really well was establishing a good rapport with my son’s teachers. I believe that rapport building begins from day one at the meet and greet. Here are four things I do to build that rapport the first few weeks of school.
Meet with the teacher to build a partnership with your child’s teacher
I understand that not every parent has the time or flexibility to attend an open house or meet and greet events. However, I find it very important to meet my child’s teacher. I use the open house as an opportunity to introduce myself and family to the teacher. If time permits, I also take that time to mention any special concerns about my son.
Establish Effective Communication
Having an open line of communication with a teacher is very important to me. I let the teacher know that I am open and willing to use whatever communication tool she is comfortable using. In the past, I have been able to communicate with the teacher through email, phone calls, student planner, and a spiral notebook that my son carried to and from school. I have also been able to utilize different apps such as Class Dojo and Reminder.
Introduce your family
Introducing your family to the teacher helps the teacher get to know your child better. Are mom and dad divorced? Is there a bonus parent involved? Is the child currently in foster care? Is there a weekly parent schedule that will affect the child’s mood and behavior? Is there anyone available at home to do homework with the child?
In our situation is was always important to advise the teachers that my husband works out of state majority of the month. At one point, my son’s behavior would change drastically the week Dad was home. Giving the teacher notice of this situation allowed her to be prepared with strategies to help him adjust and manage his behavior effectively while at school.
Say ‘thank you’
As much money as I spend on getting my child ready for the new school year, teachers spend three times more getting ready for our kids. I have many teacher friends that spend countless hours, money and time creating a home away from home for their students. I recognize this effort and always say thank you through words and school supplies. When I’m able to, I buy extra supplies from his school supply list. I also like to give a first day of school craft from my son.
If you are like me, you don’t have time to join and participate in the PTA. So instead, I volunteer for field trips and offer to bring in supplies for parties and events. Even though you may work a full-time job, you can still be a help to the teacher. I recommend asking the teacher to provide a list of help they may need. From that list, you can choose something that you are capable of doing or committing to. Once you’ve chosen your volunteer event, take the additional step of adding it to your calendar or requesting this time off from work if necessary.
What are some other ways you build a partnership with your child’s teacher during the first few weeks of school?