Working with Your Child's School
Parents want to do everything they can to support their children's education. One of the best ways to do this is to develop a good relationship with your child's teachers and to communicate with them regularly.
- Send notes. Teachers can be hard to reach. But you can use email, or have your child take notes to his or her teacher. A note might let the teacher know if a new baby, a sick relative, or an impending move or deployment is distracting your child.
- Thank the teacher for special efforts or when your child enjoys a particular school activity. Teachers will be more open to concerns when they hear praise.
- Ask the teacher to call you to discuss an issue. Be sure to give your phone number and a time when the teacher can reach you at that number.
- Request information or a conference. Do not use notes to raise objections, or discuss confidential information. Instead, request a meeting where you can discuss the issue.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences. Most schools offer conferences once or twice a year. Be prepared to share information about your child and let the teacher know if your child has recently relocated or if a parent will be deploying during the school year.
- Write out a list of questions. It is also a good idea to write out a list of questions before meeting with your child's teacher.
- If there are problem areas to discuss, avoid blaming the teacher. Try to make constructive comments. Instead of saying, "You never listen to my child," ask, "What is your classroom policy on giving students opportunities to speak and ask questions?"
- Respond to problems promptly. If a problem does develop, address it immediately. Ask your child how he or she views the problem. Listen carefully and ask questions to get beyond feelings and get to specifics. Then contact the teacher to discuss a solution.
- Talk to the teacher about daily updates. If your child is having difficulty at school, keep a close eye on the problem rather than wait for a conference. You and the teacher may decide to use a daily report card to track your child's performance or behavior.
- Meet the guidance counselor. At the beginning of high school, schedule a meeting with your teenager and a school guidance counselor to discuss college or work plans. Together, choose courses that match your child's future plans, interests, and goals.
- Stay involved. Schools do not always reach out to parents but will respond to your efforts to support the school. If you are deployed and have access to email, use it to stay connected with your child's teachers on a regular basis. Staying involved shows your child and the school that you are committed to supporting your child's education.
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