Establishing good parent-teacher communications
Learn how to communicate effectively with you child's teacher. Here are a few do's and dont's when it comes to parent-teacher communication.
Don’t hate, communicate
Little Timmy gets up for school as usual and rushes to perform his daily routine — hugging his mum followed by wolfing down his hearty breakfast meal. Timmy’s mum watches her little sunshine scarf down his meal while Timmy’s dad cracks a little joke just to watch little Timmy laugh at the breakfast table. It’s just a picture perfect family isn’t it?
Timmy then dresses up while his mum readies herself to drop him off to school that morning. As he approaches his destination, a sudden wave of fear engulfs him. The rainbow world of butterflies and gumdrops disappear. Even hearing his mum sing his favourite Barney theme song to him does little to allay the knots forming in his tummy.
Now why would little Timmy fear pre-school this much? Basically,this fear is owed to the last few days in which his mum decided to enrage his pre-school teacher by breathing down her neck on how Timmy likes his water bottle to be placed in the north-west direction of the classroom. In fact, Timmy’s mum brought the definition of ‘repetition’ to a whole new level. And now, Timmy’s teacher, pretty much unloads her wrath onto Timmy behind closed doors.
The do’s and don’ts
Not all teachers channel their frustrations onto their students, but teachers aren’t robots either. Let’s not frustrate these educators, but this doesn’t mean we have to forgo the role of a concern parent. There is no doubt, that it is essential to communicate with our children’s teachers, but how do we uphold the duty of being a parent without frustrating our children’s teachers at the same time?
Research has actually suggested that children do better academically when parents communicate often with their children’s teachers. Basically good parent-teacher communication is an investment in your child’s education and well-being. Ultimately, two adults working together as a team in the best interests of the child allows the child to feel supported and therefore competent, confident and motivated.
So how exactly do you achieve such relations without ending up as a teacher’s nightmare to an extent whereby your child’s teacher associates you with the theme music from ‘Jaws’? Here are a few dos and don’ts to parent-teacher communications.
1.) Follow up on your child’s lesson plan
Ask your child what he or she has learnt in school today. You can also put the lessons that they have learnt in school into practice For example if your child has learnt about the environment in school today, point out the trees and birds as the other living things we share the world with. This way the parent supports the teacher and in return this benefits the child.
2.) Spread the love
Send the teacher a note of appreciation. The only time that teachers usually hear from parents is when there are complaints or enquiries. Acknowledge, appreciate and motivate teachers with a little note of appreciation once in awhile for all the efforts they have put into nurturing your little one. Let’s show them teacher’s that parents are an awesome bunch.
3.) Unleash the realm of the unknown
Sounds dramatic huh? If your child has any behavioral, medical, or domestic problems, let the teacher know. Teachers need such information to equip themselves to your child’s special strengths and weaknesses. Some parents may not want to disclose personal details of their domestic issues. In such cases, just let the teacher know that your child is experiencing stress at home. The teacher can then offer support and guidance to the child. Ultimately, the teacher cares for your child, and to administer quality care, they need your support.
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4.) Emergency Numbers 995, 999 and your kid’s teacher
Establish regular means of communication so that both parent and teacher can work together to offer guidance to the child at home and school. Communicate with your child’s teacher like how you would with a trusted business partner. As a parent, you have all rights to be concerned and keep a close watch over your child. Currently, most pre-schools in Singapore make it a point to establish regular communication with parents through e-mail, communication books and by exchanging contact numbers. But do remember to strike a balance and keep the teacher’s schedule in mind whenever you need to bring up a concern.
5.) Let’s not get defensive
Though regular communication is encouraged, argumentative communication is not. You have the right to defend your child’s rights, but let’s not take it too far and turn the pre-school into a courtroom. Children will become complacent and misbehave often knowing that their parents will jump to their rescue. If you do have a genuine concern, bring it up, but do not defend until you cause a dent.
6.) Now let me give you a 101 on how to do your job
You should really wear green-colored tops to school more often. It will be cooling on the children’s eyes when you teach. Too much? Well, constructive criticism is great. But let’s face the facts. No one likes being put down constantly. It adds on to the stress that teachers face everyday. Constant criticism may even lower their confidence levels, which may indirectly impact your child as well. If you really want to offer advice to your child’s teacher, give advice that is relevant to the teacher and do it subtly.
When signing up for the job, a teacher also signs up for the role of a parent, counselor, psychiatrist, friend and adviser. We entrust these very teachers with our precious little ones. It’s about time we invest in good relations with our children’s teachers which in return, will ultimately benefit your little one. And with Teacher’s Day coming up, it’s a good time to start spreading the love. So parents, let’s make it work. And to all the teachers out there: Happy Teachers Day!