It’s distressing for parents when they find that their child is encountering difficulty in the classroom. Here are some tips for effective communication between school and family that can help solve the problem:
*Practice prevention by getting to know your child’s teacher and his/her expectations early in the year. Try and introduce yourself to the teacher as early in the year as possible. Read and stay on top of communications from school so you understand the procedures and goals of both the classroom and the school.
*Choose the type of communication carefully. Clearly, there are poor times for in-depth conversations, including asking a teacher about a child’s behavior or performance during pickup or drop-off, for example. While email exchanges are convenient for many people, keep in mind that they can easily be misconstrued and are best for simple exchanges of information, not as a way to resolve serious concerns. Some teachers and parents, after having a face-to-face meeting, like to establish a preferred, regular mode of communications that might include a daily or weekly checklist, or brief journal entry that is sent back and forth between home and school with the child.
*Before a meeting make a list of issues, questions, and possible solutions. Some written thoughts will help keep the meeting focused. Bring examples of your child’s work with you if it illustrates your concerns.
*Always get clarification if you are unsure of something. During a meeting if something seems confusing, or ambiguous clarify by asking questions: "So if I understand you correctly you’re saying Jacob has trouble finishing his tests within the class period? How often does that happen?”
*Think collaboration, rather than blame. When parents talk to a child’s teacher about a problem often the parent may feel defensive. But it’s important that parents and teachers support one another to ensure a child’s success. Even if you don’t agree with a teacher, try not to be critical in front of your child. In a conference be open to listening to what the teacher’s concerns are. Try and keep the dialogue focused on what the school and family can do together to help the child, rather than assigning blame.
For more tips from The Parenting Center, CLICK HERE.