The importance of a healthy parent teacher relationship

Priya Florence Shah | 8/28/2019, 3:24 p.m.
It's the same story every year -- you worry about whether the new teachers will understand your child.
Classroom at Mott Haven Academy Charter School Cyril Josh Barker

It's the same story every year -- you worry about whether the new teachers will understand your child. Will the teacher adapt to your child's individual learning speed? Will she be able to recognize your child's special aptitudes and talents? You don't want to be the overbearing, interfering parent, but you still want to know these things.

You certainly cannot hold your child's teacher accountable for every classroom nuance. After all, teachers are qualified educationalists, and we have to trust their judgment to a fair degree without questioning it. So what's the solution? How do you stay on top of how your child is faring under his or her teacher? The answer is - build a good parent teacher relationship.

Parent teacher relationships are like many other relationships -- once they are in place, they can overlook quite a few social gaffes. And like all other relationships, building a healthy parent teacher bond involves a certain process of breaking the ice, winning mutual trust and staying in touch.

Your objective here is obviously not to build a rip-roaring friendship -- though that often happens. The primary purpose of building such a relationship is to have informal access to your child's progress at school, and that may not happen merely by attending local PTA meetings.

Is such relationship-building really necessary? After all, you are busy and have lots of other things to do. Also, you as a parent are obviously entitled to inquire with teacher about your child's academic performance. However, that is not all you need to know about how your child is faring at school.

o You need to know how your kid is doing at the emotional level

o You may need to be able to make requests for special attention by the teacher

o You may require the teacher to offer instinctive evaluations

o You may need to communicate your own insights on your child's mental make-up and ask that these be factored into the teaching process

o You may need to advise the teacher on your own parenting style and ask that it be supported in class, as well

Once of the main reason why most parents do not make efforts to build a healthy parent teacher relationship is the fear of vulnerability. Such parents worry that revealing too much about themselves will expose them as inefficient and ineffective parents, thereby laying them open to a teacher's professional criticism. The fact is - parents are as human as we are, and are often parents themselves. They may have their own insecurities in that role, and are therefore perfectly capable of understanding yours. On the other hand, you will never know of or benefit from this human side if you do not tap into it.

The only way to break the barrier of formality is to initiate and maintain a healthy working parent teacher relationship. If you aren't the gregarious type who is comfortable with breaking the ice in person, you can take the help of interactive parent web sites designed to help parents interact with their children's teachers.

Many parents find staying in touch with their children's teachers in this manner quite comfortable. While signing up for such a parent web site, ensure that it also helps you connect with other parents and keeps you updated on after-school activities.

Priya Florence Shah writes for Parentella [http://www.parentella.com], a private communication platform for parents and teachers that enhances conversations between parents and teachers by creating groups for parents [http://www.parentella.com]. Visit us for a private, safe, and secure experience in communicating with your child's educationists.

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