Back to School: Meeting the Teacher

by Carol Band

Sometimes there's a fine line between being an active, involved parent and being overbearing and pushy. Requesting a meeting with your child's teacher in the early weeks of school falls into the first category.

Cornering your child's teacher during a general Open House falls into the latter category. This is a time to simply introduce yourself and say, "Timmy really enjoyed working on his diorama." For meaningful discussions, schedule a one-on-one conference with the teacher.

"As a teacher, I am always thrilled when a parent takes the time to meet with me at the beginning of the year," says Joy Fleming, who teaches third grade. "It's good to know that there is someone at home who is also monitoring this child's progress - after all, education is a partnership between parents and school."

Tips for a Great Parent-Teacher Relationship:

  • Request a meeting if you have concerns about your child's transition or skills.

  • For general introduction, an email that gives insight into your child's learning style works just fine. "Be specific," says Stacy DeBroff, author of The Mom Book Goes to School. "Say, 'Jason likes to work independently and gets frustrated in a group setting,' or 'Although Jenny loves to write, she is a very reluctant reader.' Provide real information."

  • Ask the teacher to help you support classroom efforts at home. Ask for reading recommendations or activity suggestions.

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listen  Parent-Teacher Communication
Tips to make sure you get off on the right foot and maintain good communication with your child's teacher.