5 Things Your Kid's Teacher Needs from You
You may think it's enough to just sign off on permission slips and report
cards, but communication about your kid's health, happiness, and progress needs
to flow both ways. Most teachers are shocked at how little parents share about
what's happening at home. "If there's an illness or a crisis going on, your
child's teacher needs to know about it because it may explain why your child
isn't behaving well or performing academically," says McDonough. But don't
wait for a crisis to connect with your kid's teacher; you can share the
positive developments, too, such as how well he's doing with his piano lessons
or how he's taken to reading the Harry Potter series. "The more you can
paint a true and full picture of who your child is, the more it helps the
teacher," McDonough says. And keeping connected doesn't mean you have to
schedule a conference or a special phone call. "I really love e-mail. It's
a great way to bridge home and school," says Martin. "I'll regularly
e-mail parents just to share some of our classroom experiences."
"Kids can't show gratitude toward their teacher every day, so it's
important for parents to do it," McDonough says. "Teaching is a very
high-energy job, and it's not given as much value in society as it
deserves." But that doesn't mean you have to buy extravagant gifts.
"Whether a parent leaves a muffin, a flower, or a note on my desk, it makes
my day," says Martin. At the end of every school year, Merritt Rowe, 39, a
Nashville mother of three, writes a long note thanking her kids' teachers for
all they did. "I know it means a lot to the teacher," she says.
"And I want them to know how thankful I am for what they did with my child
Teachers' number one request of 21st-century parents: Get off your cell
phone to say hello to the teacher when you pick up your kid. "Take 30
seconds and give full attention to the person who spends eight hours a day with
your kid," says Maloni. "Otherwise, you're dissing the teacher!"
Another frequent parental faux pas? Dropping your kid off at school late.
"You need to get your child to school on time," says Jo Ann Brooks, a
preschool teacher in Richmond, VA. "Getting to school late just throws off
the morning activities." You don't want your kid and her tardiness to be
the reason why everyone else is running behind. Likewise, be sure to return
forms like permission slips within 24 to 48 hours of receiving them; your child
may forget about them, so check her backpack daily.
If you do make a mistake and forget to sign off on that report card, don't
pile on the justifications or fibs, says McDonough. Just apologize and move on.
"Teachers hear excuses from kids all day long," she says. "They
don't need to hear them from parents, too."