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Four Ways to Be Allies With Your Kid’s Teacher

Female elementary teacher teaching large group of school children in the classroom.

When “Parenting” magazine joined forces with the National Education Association to study the delicate bridge that unites parents and teachers, their 2012 study found that 68 percent of teachers report difficulty when dealing with parents. Meanwhile, 63 percent of parents indicated that they’d never had difficulty in dealing with teachers.

The question stemming from this research leads us to ask what we can do as parents to promote a positive relationship with the teachers who invest in the lives of our children. For elementary-age children, up to six hours of the day will be spent with one primary teacher. Even as our children emerge into upper grades and encounter dozens of different teachers, these adults will make a formidable impact on the lives of the students they teach. Parents are wise to facilitate positive relationships with the adults who will shape the lives of their children.

For seven years, I taught students with disabilities at a public high school. I experienced drastic extremes as I worked with a wide variety of parents. Some parents did all they could to build a positive relationship with me, while others seemed defensive and guarded from the beginning of the school year. The tone set at the beginning of the year generally indicated the direction of our relationship throughout the rest of the year.

Fifteen years later, I find it interesting to explore this concept from the other side of the desk. I left the classroom as a teacher in 2011. I only enter the classroom as a parent in this season of life. My hope is to form a partnership with my children’s teachers and work together for the benefit of my children.

Here are a few simple strategies that any parent can implement to foster a positive relationship with their child’s teacher:

Start on a good note

Regardless of what you’ve heard about this teacher from friends and disgruntled community members, remember…

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