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How can parents work better with teachers?

Teachers and parents all have the same goal: the best education possible for their kids. However, sometimes the two can conflict with one another about how to achieve that goal.

While there are some instances when confronting a teacher will not solve the problem, there are many instances when you can collaborate with them to better your child’s learning experience. As with any interpersonal relationship, there are productive and destructive ways to approach a problem.

Here are 10 tips for approaching a teacher with an issue and working with them on a positive outcome.

1. Consider whether the issue is one of differing styles. Just because you don’t like how a teacher teaches doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

2. Weigh the severity of any mistakes a teacher may have made against the overall outcomes of your child’s education. If the errors are not egregious, it may be worth forgiving and moving on.

3. Assume positive intentions. It doesn’t help anyone to determine motives without knowing their reasoning.  

4. Be assertive and direct with the teacher about a problem, rather than going over their head immediately.

5. Reserve judgment until you’ve heard the teacher’s perspective.

6. Don’t enlist other parents in your fight until you have more information. Situations can quickly get out of hand when you take to Facebook before meeting with the teacher face-to-face.

7. Hesitate complaining too often. People who force teachers and administrators to spend time on minutia risk being ignored when something important needs their attention.

8. Encourage your child to work on problem-solving skills by addressing the teacher with their concerns first. You can provide guidance on how to approach an issue and give them the tools they need, without your direct involvement.

9. Remain positive and understanding, as teaching is a personal profession for many educators. Be forgiving and know when to move on, especially if a teacher apologizes for an error.

10. Provide details when you have a concern or a request you want the teacher to address. They are more likely to execute the outcome you desire if they have identifiable changes.

With these tips, parents can address concerns they have about their child’s education with their teachers and, if the teacher is as professional as many educators are, achieve a positive outcome and stronger relationship. 



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