By Tracy Lane
You did it! You survived the summer with your kids. And now you’re handing them over to the brave soul who will spend every day with them in their respective classrooms. Sorry not sorry that you’ll be sipping your Starbucks kid free until fall break at least.
But no doubt you know what a huge role your child’s teachers play in their lives. Even though you won’t be spending day in day out with him or her, you’re ready to get to know this dear one in a close-up way. Here are a few ways to begin building a relationship with your child’s teacher…before she calls you with the first 9 weeks report.
- Offer a back to school gift. You don’t have to wait till Christmas or the end of the year to thank your child’s teacher for their investment in your family. A gift doesn’t have to be large. Most teachers send out a welcome note with a few of their favorites. Take note and pick up a small item that relates. Even a thank you card expressing your gratitude would be a warm way to initiate with her.
- Help in the classroom or at other school events. We’re all busy, but rearranging your schedule to be present as much as possible will speak huge volumes to your child and his teacher. The simple time spent together will let the teacher know he can rely on your partnership in and out of the classroom.
- Take advantage of social media. I’m not saying to go creep the school faculty by Googling them online, but most of the modernized world can be found on social media. Consider friending your child’s teacher on Facebook or following them on Instagram. The teachers I know enjoy keeping up with their students in this more personal way too. It seems that knowing each other in a little less formal ways does help to grow a bond with the student and his family.
- Go to back to school orientation nights. This is your child’s teacher inviting you in to get to know her and the classroom atmosphere. Again, you’re busy. Again, make these opportunities a priority in your schedule. You’ll need this foundation for the duration of the school year when you’re working through something related to your child with her teacher as a co-advocate.
- Say thank you every chance you get. Sure, your child’s teacher is getting paid monetary compensation for choosing to be with your child every day. But for every teacher, it’s not just about a job. It’s about loving and growing our collective future—quite literally, your family’s future. That’s not easy work (you were recently reminded over summer break!). When you see the teacher at drop off or pickup, when you have the chance to respond to a class email, when you’re just reminded how huge of a role your child’s teacher has make the effort to say thank you. Your gratitude will go a long way.
I’m so thankful that I didn’t choose teaching as a profession, but I’m so thankful that my children’s teachers did! Go ahead and get to know them. Your investment will be worth it and your children will be better supported at home and in the classroom.