Millions of young Canadians are heading back to school. And million of parents will communicate with hundreds of thousands of teachers who will inspire their children.
In the era of the explosion of the nuclear family and of diversity where communication modes abound, imagine all the situations in the life of a child that could necessitate communicating with the teacher.
An email to inform the teacher of the details of the new shared custody arrangements with your ex. Sending a "friend request," 'cause you want a lens into that teacher's world. A face-to-face meeting, to make sure that he is familiar with the EpiPen for your youngest who has a severe fatal allergy. A phone call to inform him that Fluffy has suddenly passed away... A text, he forgot his lunch, again! Multiply that by at least 25 students ... Double OMG! The school year is just beginning and already one can anticipate a surplus of communications. And these examples don't even include all the superfluous stuff.
Without being a "helicopter" parent, the person who "hovers" over his child to "steer" him in the right direction or "flies" over to rescue him, an engaged parent must respect the teacher's and the school's rules of communication. It is the basis to ensure harmony in the valuable triangle of education: child, school and parent(s).
Here are 10 guidelines to make sure that you communicate correctly.
1. Follow the school's communication guidelines.
If smartphones are not welcome, don't ask your child to phone or text you discreetly at lunch time from the washroom to let you know how he's feeling. Obviously, there are always exceptions and in those cases, talk with the school principal first.
2. Abide by the teacher's preferred modes of communication.
If he's rather "old school" and prefers the agenda, write in the agenda. If he is quite techno, has created a Facebook page and asks you to be his "friend" to stay in the classroom's communication loop, be his "friend."
3. Respond and reply to communications on time.
Otherwise, your child is the one who suffers the consequences. It is he who will be uncomfortable with your lateness.
4. Remember that your child's teacher is a professional, a person and that his time, like yours, is valuable.
- Be respectful.
- Use their name.
- Be clear and concise.
- Give the contact details to reach you at the end of each communication.
- Thank them and recognize them, especially when they go above and beyond.
5. Teach your child to respect his teacher's personal boundaries and to use his network, to find answers to his questions.
When he has forgotten his homework, he can first go to his classmates.
6. Like hockey parents, wait 24 hours when you are little, or a lot, peeved.
Pay attention to your tone. Be patient. Expect the best from your child's teacher.
7. Don't automatically copy the principal on all your emails.
Of course, some situations will warrant it and in those cases a phone call or requesting an in-person visit may be best.
8. If you enjoy communicating with technology and are quite good at it, offer to help with classroom communications; creating a Facebook page, a newsletter, etc.
Giving the gifts of your time and talents are great way to collaborate to your child's well-being.
9. Participate in parent-teacher meetings and school activities.
It is for you, and your child, that they are organized.
10. Communicate to your children that school is important.
Don't schedule your child's appointments during school days and hours. Take advantage of the pedagogical days for these visits. Don't leave before, or come back after, the vacation or the holiday period.
This post was approved by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience who loves technology. She is my dear friend of 50 years. We met in kindergarten. Happy back to school dear friend! Your students and their parents are fortunate to have you as teacher this year. xox
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