I’m Right, You’re Not! How Parents and Teachers Can Get Along In Tough Times2
As a mother and teacher, I totally get it. You send your child off to school with the idea your child’s emotional and educational well-being is in the hands of a supportive expert. While in theory this is awesome there may come a time when that expert and your child bump heads. What do you do when reality clashes with your image of a constantly happy child in class? It’s easy to complain to the principal. These days this is a universal go to. Be mindful that such an action may set the tone for a level of tension that’s hard to resolve as time goes on. Here are some kinder gentler ways to encourage getting along with your child’s teacher in tough moments.
Give It A Day: Many teachers deal with parents that “fly off the handle” on a daily basis over minor things. Before rushing to the phone or computer because your child has come home with a complaint, try waiting a day before taking any action. Bullying would be the exception. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll have a chance to think about what you want to say without steaming anger clouding your judgement. In fact, you may choose not to do anything after a day of reflection.
Start With a Positive: When a “hiccup” arises for whatever reason, be sure to start your phone conversation or email off with a few positives about what you’re pleased with. You’re showing that you’re happy with the teacher’s efforts so far and your entire conversation won’t focus on the negative.
Refine Communication Skills: Your teacher will appreciate respectful communication. If there’s a complaint from your child, listening to both sides of the story and being thoughtful in your response will go a long way in building a positive rapport. If you don’t necessarily have a problem but you do have a small concern, or comment, a polite email is the way to go. Trust me.
Offer Help: Occasionally, ask your child’s teacher how you can be helpful. Whether it means sending in a box of tissues, volunteering to be a guest reader, or chaperoning a field trip, any and all help is appreciated! By volunteering in your child’s school life you’ll get to know the teacher firsthand and have a front row seat to how she/he actually operates in the classroom.
You don’t have to worry about becoming best friends with your child’s teacher. What’s most important is that mutual respect is given and received when situations become prickly. And I’m sure, even when pushed to your breaking point, for the sake of your child’s well-being, you will emerge a smart and compassionate mama!