Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How Should You Keep in Touch with Your Child’s Teacher?

While parents usually have only a few children, teachers have many more. This is especially true for secondary school teachers. Often, they have 180 students on their rolls. That’s beyond the ones they have at home. So when parents want teachers to communicate with them, which is a very good thing, they need to make it easy for teachers to do so.

This will vary by teacher. The easiest way to find out what works best is to ask straight out, “How do you prefer I communicate with you?” Personally I found the telephone was the worst way to contact parents. They were rarely home when I could call, and expecting a message to reach them through their children was beyond optimistic. Therefore, I always asked for a current email address. I provided mine as well. This was not my personal email address, however. It was the one attached to my school run website.

Occasionally, I did call a parent. This was not always easy due to the time factor, but also because there were frequent language issues. I taught German and French throughout most of my career, but I do speak a little Spanish. It is enough for travel and telling parents what was wrong in class. I remember once calling and realizing I needed to switch to Spanish. After I explained the child was not coming to class and not turning in his work, I heard the father tell his child, “You didn’t tell me she speaks Spanish.” I don’t really, but it was enough to do the trick.

Another time I had a high school German student who was severely ADHD. Since the parents did not trust their son, I sent home a short email daily. It told them what we covered in class, his behavior and what was expected to be completed by the next day as homework. Having an up-to-date website makes communication fairly easy. Most teachers are willing and eager to keep parents informed, but parents need to make doing so simple for teachers. Teachers don’t have the time or energy to hunt down phone numbers or email addresses.

For more information on education, you'll want my new book, Free College Awareness, coming soon from Griffin Publishing and Watering Seeds. Learn how to avoid needing college loans; available soon to families of Pre-K through High School students.

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