Positive Parent Teacher Relationships

The importance of the parent/school collaboration to student success is well documented. When parents and teachers work together, students earn higher grades and have a more positive attitude toward themselves and their school.  

Parents And Teachers On The Same Team

Every school strives to be welcoming, and both teachers and parents have the same goal: to help students thrive academically, socially and emotionally. Yet, this collaboration is not always smooth. As the school year begins, Diane Ferber, Director of the Collaborative Center for Learning and Development at Greenwich Education Group, offers great advice on how to nurture a dream team on behalf of your child.The parent-teacher relationship requires effort from both parents and teachers.  There are some ways in which the relationship can be optimized, trusting and highly collaborative. Starting the relationship well, maintaining open communication, and becoming engaged in the classroom and the school are key areas. 

Start the relationship with a positive, open mindset

  • Parents who have had a great experience or negative experience tend to share their stories. Your child may have been assigned to a teacher you don’t know, or one with whom a friend’s child had a less than perfect experience.  Remember that all children learn differently, and different children will have different experiences with a given teacher. Susie may do well with a teacher whose classroom features a good deal of structure and predictability, while Tom would do better with a teacher who is flexible and more dynamic in classroom structure. Your child’s best fit teacher is not the same as your neighbor’s.

  • Communicate your excitement for the year to your child, and let them know about your partnership with their new teacher on their behalf, all of you as part of your child’s “team.”

Communication is the key element of the parent-teacher relationship 

  • Let the teacher know your preferred method of contact (email? phone?) and ask your teacher the best way to contact them. Inquire when your teacher is able to review messages and get back to you.

  • Understand that the teacher may want to talk with you, but may not be able to discuss your child at drop off or pick up or during the teaching day without making a plan before hand. Many parents are hurt when they come to the classroom and approach the teacher during the day only to find the teacher is unable to focus on them or talk with them at that time!

  • Share with the teacher any information you feel that will help your child acclimate and be successful in the classroom. There are many things teachers can control in the classroom (seating, reminders, etc.) that can support your child during the initial transition and throughout the year.

  • Make time to read the communication that comes home in Friday folders, online, etc. from your child’s classroom.

  • When in doubt, reach out. Contact the teacher with concerns, feedback, questions if there is a problem.

  • We as parents tend to be very protective of our children, and sometimes that emotional intensity can flood our responses. Just as in other situations, don’t hit “send” immediately!

  • Attend all parent conferences. This creates the opportunity for sharing information, and shows your child the importance of this collaboration. Even if the partnership is rocky, the conference is an opportunity for strengthening understanding and building rapport.

Be engaged in your child’s classroom and learning

  • Rather than correct your child’s work before handing it in (masking their mistakes and denying the student and teacher the chance to work on specific gaps and develop weaker skills), celebrate your child’s effort and talk about their assignments with them.  Let them know mistakes are the process by which we learn!

  • Attend school functions and events. Volunteer in the school and the classroom to the degree your schedule permits.Both you and your child’s teacher want what is best for your child.

You child will benefit from a strong collaboration on how best to get there.  Have a wonderful year!   If you have questions, contact Diane at dferber@greenwichedgroup.com.