About 15% of your child’s waking hours are spent at school. While learning starts at home, your child’s experience with their school and teachers makes significant long-term impact on their social and emotional growth. Thus, it is essential that the parent-teacher connection be supportive and communicative. Usually, parents are more involved or present during the elementary grades, but here are some ways parents can support middle and high school teachers:
- Attend Parent Events and Conferences at the School – Many secondary schools allow parents to meet with teachers at events such as back-to-school nights, open houses, and parent/teacher conferences. While these may be optional, they can also be very beneficial, even if they’re only virtual. These can be an excellent way for parents to meet teachers, learn about expectations, and ask questions. You will now have a reference base throughout the year as you hear your child speaking about their teachers.
- Message Teachers with Concerns and Questions – Most teachers can accept messages from parents by email or phone. If you have a concern about your child, reach out and share with them important information. It is helpful to give the teachers a little bit of time to first get to know your student. If it pertains to a specific issue, first give your child the opportunity to independently manage the situation. If you need to directly handle the situation, let your student know that you are connecting with their teacher to work things out collaboratively.
- Send Encouraging Messages – Teacher work very hard to try and support your child. When you see that a teacher is engaging your student or being helpful, send a quick email letting them know that your student was excited, engaged, and that you appreciate all that they are doing.
- Don’t Complain to Your Teen About Their Teachers – You may not always like your teen’s teachers, but it is crucial not to bad-mouth them to your teen. Saying something like, “I understand your frustration; he is pretty strict” can be more effective than saying, “I understand why you don’t like your teacher; I don’t like him either.” If the teacher is not unfair or inappropriate, it can be a good life lesson for you teen to learn to manage different personalities. In the future, they will likely have to work collaboratively with other challenging individuals so it can be a helpful learning experience.
- Understand Teachers Have Rules to Follow – Some classroom rules, such as wearing masks or social distancing, may be rules that the teachers also need to follow. Understand that most teachers want the best for their students. With that, though, there may be rules that they’re required to enforce. It’s important not to blame teachers for things that they cannot control. Instead, try to empathize by understanding their perspective and encourage your teen to do the same.
Working collaboratively with your school and teachers is helpful for all. It truly does take a village! For more support related to home-school collaboration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.