Your child’s teacher plays a very important role in the growth and development of your child. In fact, many experts would state that teachers are the second most important person in a child’s life, falling only behind the parents. With teachers having this much influence over your child's future, it's imperative that you work to build a strong relationship with your child's teachers. These positive parent-teacher relationships are even more important when you have a child with a learning or behavioral disorder.
Benefits of a Strong Parent-Teacher Relationship
Not only is a strong parent-teacher relationship a good idea, but it can affect your child’s school success. Studies link positive parent-teacher relationships to academic achievement, motivation, positive behavioral outcomes, improved attitude, and even social competence. The ability of a child to feel safe and cared for both at home and at school helps promote classroom success at any age.
Tips to Build an Effective Parent-Teacher Relationship
Parents can do several things to ensure they build a strong relationship with their child's teachers, including:
· Meet Face-to-Face with Teacher
It's important to have a face-to-face meeting with your child's teachers as early in the school year as possible. Don't assume the teacher has read your child's entire Individual Education Plan. Instead, provide each teacher with a copy of the IEP. This way the teacher will understand just how important it is to your child's overall classroom success.
· Develop a Communication Plan
Communication between the parent and teacher is key to fostering a strong relationship. Make sure the teacher has all of your contact information, including your home/cell phone number and email address. Work with your child's teacher to develop a communication plan that works best for both parties, and determine how often you want to receive updates on your child's progress.
· Keep Teacher Informed
Most young children are not future-oriented, so dealing with change can become extremely difficult. Keeping your child's teacher informed about any changes at home can go a long way in helping them transition through this time. This information can help the teacher understand changes in your child's classroom behavior and to adjust expectations accordingly. Likewise, encourage your child's teacher to keep you up-to-date with any changes in the classroom.
· Give Encouragement
Many of today's good teachers are working long hours with limited resources, and with little recognition. Giving your child's teacher encouragement, such as compliments and thank you notes, through the year can help them feel valued and appreciated. Not only will this help to strengthen your parent-teacher relationship, but it also can help to inspire your child's teacher.