As parents, it’s important that we communicate certain things to the teachers in our lives. After all, these people have our kiddos in their hands 6+ hours each day. It can be frustrating for them to have major things thrown at them last minute, or to be inundated with emails.
There are definitely a few Do’s and Don’t’s for better school communication for parents, and I’m happy to share them with you.
Plus, I’ll throw in a FREE communication checklist printable along the way!
Parent Communication – Do:
- Let your teacher know if your child will be out because of illness promptly. A call to the office doesn’t always mean that the teacher gets the message!
- Inform your teacher of any lengthy non-illness related absences well in advance. For example, should your family be taking a trip to Disney in February while school is in session, your teacher should be informed 2-3 weeks prior to this trip. And you should bring her a souvenir.
- Contact your teacher with any concerns about academics. Remember to keep the initial email light in tone and non accusatory. It’s best not to make a mountain out of a molehill until AFTER you have talked to the teacher and gotten his/her professional insight.
- Send in written notes regarding any change in dismissal.
- Send in notes about impending absences (see: vacations).
- Send in notes about anything. Use my multi-purpose form to customize your notes: A Note to the Teacher
- Use the email address and phone number provided by the school to contact your teacher during regular school hours.
- Read the class or school newsletter and any fliers that come home from school.
- Remember that the teacher is a highly educated and certified professional. S/he uses research based teaching practices to construct lessons, and must follow state/district mandated curriculum.
Parent Teacher Communication – Don’t:
- Contact the teacher using their personal email or phone. It can make it seem as though the teacher is giving preferential treatment, which can result in reprimands.
- Assume the teacher is “out to get” your child. There are two sides (or more) to every story. Be sure to get her side before passing judgement.
- Ask for make-up work for vacations at the last minute.
- If given work to do while out of school, ensure your child completes it and returns it in a timely fashion.
- Call or email the teacher over every little thing. There are at least 20 other students in this class. Imagine if the teacher got one email or phone call a day from each parent!
- Expect a response outside of normal working hours. Yes, teachers put in hundred of hours of work outside of the school day. And between 7:30am and 5:00pm, most are at their school and able to reply to your communications. But an email sent at 0dark30am or after 8:00pm will be sitting in the inbox until the next business day. Ditto for weekend emails.
- Forget to ask if the teacher needs volunteers or help! (Ok, this is more of a DO, but seriously, don’t forget this!)
How do you manage communications with your child’s teacher?