Back to School 2004 -- How to Build a Strong Parent-Teacher Relationship

My first official meeting with my son's kindergarten teacher took place, not at school, but at a district seminar just prior to the first day of school. I bravely made my way through the crowd of people, a tickling sensation in my stomach growing as I reached her. We shook hands politely as I introduced myself as a colleague and parent of one of her students. When I had embarrassed myself enough with anecdotes of my son's achievements, she very sweetly thanked me for introducing myself and assured me that we'd be in touch throughout the school year. As I walked back to my seat, I wondered why I had been so nervous to meet her, and why I had been compelled to give her my child's complete history. After all, I am a teacher, a fellow educator, a peer. The truth was that I wanted her to know me as Cody's mom, who along with my husband would be the guiding force at home for my son; the person she could count on for support.

Meeting your child's teacher is important in laying the foundation for a productive school year. Not only are you introducing yourself as your child's parent, but you are also opening a line of communication for the school year with the person who will be guiding your child's education. The partnership that you form with your child's teacher is important to everyone involved: parents, teachers, school, and most importantly, your child. I enjoy being able to address parents of my students by name because I feel that we have created a bond, one that says "together we will shepherd this child through educational experiences."

 

Because many parents work schedules that don't allow them to take their child to school, it may be difficult to introduce yourself to the teacher personally within the first two weeks of school. In this case, a short note of introduction is also helpful in forging the bond between teacher and parent. A simple letter can make anyone's day, and I know that I appreciate all of the notes I receive from parents. If your child is being picked up at school by various family members or a daycare provider, you may want to include that in your letter. Do try to meet your child's teacher personally as soon as you can. Most schools offer an orientation or a "Back to School Night" where you can meet the teacher at a time that may be more convenient for you.

Once you have met your child's teacher, there are many other ways that can ensure a good year for yourself and your child.

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