Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship, especially relationships between parents, students, and teachers. Knowing when to communicate and how to communicate will determine the quality of your relationship with your student and his or her teachers.
Communicate with Your Student
The first mode of communication should always be directly with your student. It is important to communicate with your student about what he or she is experiencing atschool with friends and with teachers. There are many factors that may affect academic performance such as family dynamics, bullying, class size, sports, and extracurricular activities. It is important to know how your student is perceiving his or her progress in class. Ask your student specific questions regarding academic progress and factors that may be affecting it. Asking your student precise questions about school will let your student know that you are interested in his or her life and will help the student openly communicate with you if an issue arises at school. Make an effort to understand your student’s perspective as it will be helpful when you are communicating with his or her teacher. Regularly asking your student about his or her school day will require a few minutes of your undivided attention. Turn off the TV, put aside your cell phone, and spend some quality time listening to and talking with your student. Setting aside some intentional time to spend with your student will put you on the road to better communication.
Communicate with the Teacher
It is important to have an open line of communication with your student’s teacher(s). Start communicating with your student’s teacher early and often. It is important that the teacher knows your best mode of communication and that you know his or her best mode of communication. Teachers may use various one-way forms of communication to update you on school happenings through newsletters, school-to-home notebooks, home notes, and report cards. Check in with the teacher on your student’s academic progress periodically. Address any issues that may have come up and offer praise for any progress that has been made.
Emailing is a convenient way to communicate with a teacher about
something that requires some correspondence. Emails can be used to present a situation that may need to be addressed in person, but sending an email about your thoughts before meeting is a courteous way of letting the teacher understand your perspective and allows the teacher some time to gather his or her thoughts before meeting in person.
In this day and age, texting has revolutionized the way that we communicate. Many teachers will prefer texting for short messages such as scheduling an appointment, notifying the teacher that your child may be late for class, or other similar brief exchanges.
Some teachers prefer a phone call if they do not often check their emails and the matter is urgent. If you have a teacher’s personal number, the best time to call is usually right after school and before dinner time. Once the teacher is home, it is considerate to postpone a phone call until working hours the following day, unless the matter is extremely urgent.
Most matters are best addressed in a meeting with the parent, teacher, and student present in person. A face-to-face meeting promotes clear communication without the misinterpretations that can easily occur from other communication methods. Non-verbal communication is an important part of every discussion and is not available when using remote communication methods. In-person communication is recommended for any matters that require more than one response from either party involved.
Everyone has a preferred communication method. It is always best to ask your student’s teacher his or her preferred method of communication rather than assuming that you know what is best. Using a teacher’s preferred communication method shows that you are considerate of his or her preferences and will open the line of communication. The year may be winding down, but the academic year is not quite half way through, leaving plenty of time to spark up a conversation with your student and his or her teachers.