Knowing your child's teacher
At a glance
- Say hello to your child's teacher/s at the beginning of the school year.
- A friendly relationship with the teacher/s can benefit your child at school and at home.
- Share with the teacher/s your child's strengths, weaknesses and any health issues.
- Make an appointment to see the teacher/s about anything important to you.
- Talk to your child's teacher/s about any changes in the home that may affect your child's learning.
It's important to have a good relationship with your child's teacher and the best way to start it is by saying hello.
Like any relationship, the one with your child's teachers involves mutual respect and ongoing effort from both sides.
Jennifer Marshall, a teacher at Oatlands Public School, says everyone wins, especially the child, when there is good communication between parents and teachers.
"Having a friendly relationship can benefit the child at home and at school. Parents can help identify certain behaviours that are happening at school but not at home and vice versa," Jennifer says.
"They can also help teachers identify children's strengths, weaknesses and personality traits, which can help tailor the teaching to suit their child's needs."
We encourage parents to help out in the classroom with reading groups or to volunteer. Oatlands Public School
Meeting face-to-face is best, but when this isn't possible, writing notes and emails or making phone calls are all ways that parents and teachers can agree to communicate – just check with the school first. This applies in primary and high school.
In the primary classroom
Getting involved in the life of your child's school or classroom when they are in primary school is a great way to strengthen the bond between your family and the school, Jennifer says.
"Working with parents makes it a lot easier to get to know a child and their family background. We encourage parents to help out in the classroom with reading groups or to volunteer on school excursions and fundraising days. This way parents and teachers can support each other and learn the best ways to teach their child in and out of the classroom," she says.
Meeting high school teachers
The relationship between parents and teachers changes in high school because children don't have one main teacher. This doesn't mean these teachers have to be strangers. Stephen Cavanagh, a head teacher at East Hills Boys High School in Sydney, says the year adviser is the link between the school and parents.
"As a parent of a secondary school student it is important that you make yourself aware of each of your child's teachers and the subjects they teach as early as possible. Your child's year adviser will generally be your first point of contact within the school and will also be responsible for easing their transition into high school," he says.
Stephen adds parents should try to attend every parent-teacher evening and speak with each teacher.
"Treat all subjects with equal value. It's important to remember that secondary teachers can teach up to 180 students. Make contact with the relevant teacher if at any time you have questions or concerns relating to your child," Stephen says.
Teacher relationship builders
- Let the teacher know your child's strengths and weaknesses and health issues.
- Talk to the teacher about any special help your child may need.
- Send notes attached to homework letting the teacher know if your child found it difficult or enjoyed it.
- Make an appointment with your child's teacher to find out how you can help your child at home with their learning.
- Chat to the teacher at the end of the day.
- Contact the teacher if you think your child is having problems at school.
- Attend parent-teacher meetings and other school events.
- Talk to the teacher about any changes in your home life which may impact on your child's learning, such as a parent travelling a lot for work, serious illness or parent separation. This information will be treated confidentially.
- Let the teacher know when you can see that your child is doing well.
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