Positive Partnership :: Teachers and Parents

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School is in full swing now, and your child, no matter their age, is settling in for a successful school year. As a mom AND a veteran teacher of 28 years, I know that the “honeymoon period” is probably over for your child and your child’s teacher.  Teachers and students spend seven hours a day, five days a week, and 180 days a year together in a classroom; conflicts are bound to occur. 

That being said, there is a lot of school ahead. Now is the time to clear up, or learn to live with, any issues that you or your child may have with what goes on at school. It might help to keep the following in mind as you navigate the rest of the school year—whether it is the best year ever, or a year that you will chalk up to a learning experience (puns intended).

Parents and Teachers Have the Same Goal

Teachers want what is best for your child, and they know you feel the same way. You want your child to love learning, and so does the teacher. You want your child to focus and be attentive, and so does the teacher. Nothing brings people together like a common goal—you are winning right out of the gate!

Your Child’s World is the Real World

Your child might not be thrilled with his classmates or thrilled with his teacher. That happens. But learning to get along with others is an essential life skill. In life, in work, at church, and in our communities we all encounter people we would not choose to spend time with on our own. But, that’s life, and learning that lesson can start in school, whether it’s with a difficult classmate or an instructor you would not have chosen for your child. 

Everyone Cares Differently

Your parenting style might be different from an educator’s teaching style. Maybe you are a strict disciplinarian, and your child’s teacher is laid-back. Or perhaps you lean toward permissive parenting, but your child’s teacher is structured and “old-school.” Trust that your child will adjust in their safe and loving school environment, even if it’s different from their safe and loving environment at home. It will be okay! Again, all parties want what is best for the child(ren).

Share Concerns Honestly and Directly

Teachers WANT to know when you have a legitimate concern. Don’t fume and fuss with your friends at the ballpark; contact the teacher directly and ask for a face-to-face meeting or phone call. This doesn’t mean you need to fire off an email every time Little Johnny doesn’t get his favorite swing at recess, but you can absolutely initiate a conversation about your child’s learning, safety, and emotional growth. The teacher will appreciate your candor and willingness to work together to find a solution for any problems that arise.

Keep It Classy 

If a tough-to-solve issue arises at school, try to keep any ill feelings you have toward an authority figure between you and the adult. Acknowledge your student’s frustration with a teacher or other authority figure, but don’t bash them in front of your child. You might not reach a resolution, but make sure to keep it classy. This will give your child an invaluable example of moving through life with grace.  

-A Final Word-

If you are facing more serious issues than grades, friendships, or behavior, do not hesitate to contact your child’s school immediately. The tips above are intended for common conflicts, not serious safety or emotional concerns.

 

 

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Janna is the mom of two “grown-and-flown” adults, ages 20 and 24,and has been married to her husband, Jamie, for 27 years. They have lived in Birmingham since starting college at Birmingham-Southern in the mid-80s, and loved the area so much they decided to stay. Janna graduated in 1990 and taught elementary school for 28 years, most of it at Gwin Elementary in Hoover. Since retirement, she has certified as a yoga teacher, done more volunteer work at her church, and has explored her love of writing. She is passionate about focusing on the blessings and joys in every season of parenting. When she is not trying to be productive, you can find her with her nose in a book (yes, a paper one), exercising, or hanging out with people she loves.

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