As teachers, we need to work very closely with parents of the students in our classrooms. Together we make a team, and as a team we all need to be on the same page.
While there are 1,001 ways teachers can help keep parents in the loop… there are 1,001 ways that parents can help their child’s teacher as well.
This list of tips was curated by special education teachers in Mrs. D’s VIP Facebook Group.
Parents, here are a few ways to help your child’s teacher.
Make sure the phone number the teacher has for you works (or email!). We understand things happen and life gets away from you, but it is so important that the school has a working avenue to be able to reach you.
Have open communication. Just as we, teachers, should be calling you to tell you positive (and not just negative) things, it goes both ways. Open communication shows that we respect each other and that we are on the same team. It also let’s the student know that we are working together for the benefit of the child.
Don’t speak negatively about your child’s teacher in front of your child. You may think that your child “won’t pick up on it” or “doesn’t understand” … but they do. We, as the teacher, lose all credibility when your child hears you speak ill of us. You don’t have to like us, that’s fine… but we do need to be respectful of one another.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t believe everything your child tells you happens at school, and we won’t believe everything they say happens at home.”? Yep. Just going to leave that one there.
Follow through with behavior expectations, that means with the rewards and the consequences.
Make sure your child is getting enough sleep and is getting proper nutrition.
Read to and with your child. 10 or 15 minutes each night makes the world of difference.
Carry over skills at home, even if it’s just one or two. It makes a huge difference and shows that your child can demonstrate understanding over multiple settings… basically generalization of the skill (which is what we want to see!).
Go to back to school night, open house, parent teacher conferences… GO. Yes, we know your schedule is tight and you have other obligations. We do too, but we arranged other plans for our children and our families to be there for the event as well.
If this is your first year with a new teacher (not necessarily first year, but new to you and your child), start the year with an open mind. Don’t let past teachers or judgements get in the way of having an open and respectful relationship with this new teacher.
Don’t let guilt keep you from doing what’s best for your child, even when it is hard. Basically, don’t let the disability be an excuse for letting things slide, behavioral and/or academic.
BOTH parents or guardians need to work together with the teacher. Having differences is okay, but don’t let personal issues get in the way of what is best for the child.
While not necessary, send your child’s teacher an email every couple of weeks and ask if she or he needs anything. From helping to cut out lamination, to copying papers, or even sharpening pencils from home… even if we say no, it means so much that you’ve asked. It shows that you are actively involved in your child’s education and makes us feel like a team.
One of the greatest “gifts” I ever received from a parent was a “bible” on the child. It was a simple binder with laminated pages, and it contained all sorts of helpful information on the student… like the child’s disability, emergency information, contact information, pictures of the child growing up (they were so adorable!), likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, outside services the child attended… all the information I needed as the child’s teacher, to be a team with the parents, to help their child be successful.
Be honest with us.
Last but not least…
Please do not expect the teacher to raise your child. Teach your child manners and respect. Spend time with your child, eat dinner together… your child wants your attention.