By Carol C. Wood / Founder & CEO, Total Learning Concepts, Inc.
As the new school year begins, it is a good time to recognize those who have dedicated and committed themselves to the education of students. Whether one teaches 4-year olds in a Pre-kindergarten program or adults who are furthering their education, the common component for educators is their passion for people. When asked what I do as a career, I often respond with, “I am in the ‘people building’ business!” Most people I know who are teachers feel the same. It is difficult to understand why some feel compelled to teach, but they do. It’s as if God “taps” certain people for this life role. What are some of the characteristics of a teacher?
T – Trustworthy, Tenacious, Thought provoking
E – Expert, Enthusiastic, Entertaining, Energetic
A – Approachable, Appreciative, Attentive
C – Caring, Challenging, Constructive, Creative, Comforting, Communicative
H – Honest, Hard-working, Humorous
E – Engaging, Empathetic, Encouraging
R – Role model, Rebuilder, Responsible, Respectful, Receptive
ESTABLISHING A POSTIVE TEACHER RELATIONSHIP
Following are a few reminders to establish a positive working relationship with teachers during the next school year:
- Provide teachers with information about your child that will help them know him or her as an individual.
- Volunteer your time and energy to the classroom and school when needed.
- Demonstrate respect for each teacher’s expertise and experience with subject matter and student behavior management in the classroom.
- Send a note of thanks and appreciation to teachers when things are going well in the classroom.
- Be on each teacher’s “team” by supporting his or her instruction, classroom policies, and procedures and expectations from your child as a student.
- If you disagree with a teacher on any matter, never voice this in front of your child. Doing so may cause your student to place blame on the teacher rather than accepting personal responsibility for the matter.
- When desiring to talk with a teacher, contact him or her via email or a written note initially and briefly describe the nature of your concern(s). Ask for a return phone call and provide your best number and time of day to be reached. If a phone call is not sufficient to handle your concerns, request a brief in-person conference. Emailing concerns can be risky since they do not reflect vocal tone, expression or mannerisms.
- When talking with the teacher via phone or in a conference, begin with questions rather than accusations. Asking questions will allow you to have a better idea of the manner in which classes are conducted and subjects taught. You do not want to put the teacher in a defensive mode and verbal accusations will likely do this. Teachers are human beings first and want and deserve your respect and approval of the work they do with your child each day.
So, as the new school year begins, recognize the many special characteristics each teacher brings to the learning environment and achievement of students’ goals and potential and support their efforts with your child.
Have a fabulous school year!