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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Dear Teacher: Communicating With Your Kid's Teacher

Aug 24, 2011 12:00AM

Question:

How important is it for me to communicate with my children's teachers? Some of my friends call their children's teachers all the time. My children do so well that I never thought it necessary to talk to their teachers except at the regularly scheduled conferences. – No  Communicator

Answer:

Research does show that frequent parent/teacher communication really helps children succeed in school. So start communicating with your children's teachers early this year. It will show them that you truly want to be involved in your children's education.

Communication with your children's teachers does not have to be formal meetings. Brief notes, e-mails and phone calls are all effective ways to communicate with each other. Before starting to communicate, be sure to find out how individual teachers wish to be approached. A good ice-breaker is a reference to a lesson, a teaching technique or a homework assignment that really motivated your children.

Informal chats are also very effective communication tools. Plan to volunteer for classroom activities and to attend parent/teacher events. These are great settings for parents and teachers to get to know each other. However, they are not the time to resolve any problems. Mutual disclosure is important to parent/teacher communication. Parents need to tell teachers about anything that is happening at home that may be affecting their children's work, and teachers should tell parents what is happening at school.

How often parents and teachers communicate with each other truly depends on whether there are any serious problems. Some may need to communicate almost every day. If children are handling school well, casual chats with teachers and occasional notes or e-mails should build a good relationship.