- Week 1: Five-minute check to make sure transition to the classroom is going well.
- Week 2-4: Quick e-mail at the end of the week to make sure all is well
- End of each Month: Quick face-to-face or e-mail with anything that needs to be praised or addressed
It should be reasonable to ask for 5 minutes at the end of each day during the first week, so that we can make sure our child is transitioning well. We should let the teacher know that this will be the only week we will check every day.
It is also reasonable to ask for quick email at the end of the second through fourth week to make sure things continue to go well in the classroom. Again, let the teacher know that this is limited to the first month.
Ask your child’s teacher his/her preferred communication if an issue pops up during the year.
The Hard Part:
- Things will pop up in our head to talk about, probably on a daily basis. Ask yourself: Can this wait until the end of the week? The less we communicate small problems, the more everyone can concentrate on our child’s progress instead of those small, daily frustrations.
- Keep track of the time. Remember, our child’s teacher may have weekend plans that start that Friday. If you only ask for 5 minutes, try to keep it to five minutes. I know, it’s REALLY HARD. But it is necessary.
- Initiate communication yourself. We shouldn’t blame the teacher for lack of communication if we don’t try to touch base first. Then, we need to give him/her time for a response. Sometimes, a teacher gets busy at the end of the day. Also, it is sometimes easier for the teacher to reply to an email than to start a fresh one.
- Understand that there will be bad days. We need to keep things in perspective when communication happens.
- If you pop in unannounced and the teacher seems less than receptive, don’t assume it is because of your child. The teacher may be working through several matters that happened that day. We need to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.
It takes a while for anything to become a routine or habit, and gentle reminders will be needed at the beginning. Here is a nice way to email the teacher:
Dear Mrs. Wonderful Teacher,
Johnny came home this week in a great mood, overall! I know we had a difficult day on Tuesday, but we talked about it and we are growing. Thank you for all your help with that. Johnny told me he loved the lesson on the Water Cycle and can’t wait to see how the rain barrels are doing. How did the week go, in your opinion? Is there anything we can work on this weekend to make next week even better?
My Child’s Advocate
This is keeping it short and sweet. This is not a meeting or a time for excuses. It is time to touch base and make sure our child’s extra needs are still on your teacher’s mind.
Teacher: Please be an advocate for our child by keeping communication regular and to the point. Keep a lookout for positive things to praise and remember it to send to us. This is important. Your time is limited and valuable, make sure you address progress (not just concerns) and a perhaps a goal moving forward. In this way, you can keep the meeting shorter and more to the point. This will be appreciated. Lastly, try calling every so often with JUST GOOD NEWS. It will help with calls when there is only bad.