Develop a good working relationship with your child’s school
It’s true that children whose parents take a strong interest in their child’s education tend to outperform those whose parents don’t. There are myriad reasons why this is, but what’s particularly noticeable is that these same children tend to be more motivated to do well compared to their peers which is, essentially, what makes the difference between good learning and great learning.
When parents take a strong interest in their child’s education, children notice. When parents don’t, children notice that too. The importance of developing a good relationship between parents and school should therefore not be overlooked.
Below are 11 simple but effective tips to develop a good relationship with your child’s school:
- Get to know your child’s class teacher: Know their face, their name and make sure they know yours too. It makes communication much easier; there is nothing more awkward for teachers (and parents) than not meeting the parents of a child you have taught all year until the summer term.
- Be in constant communication with your child’s teacher: Ask for your child’s teacher’s email address. Email is such a quick and easy way to let teachers know about anything you may want to communicate. Whether it is that your child didn’t sleep very well the night before or perhaps they had great success during their homework project, your child’s teacher wants to know.
- Attend parent-teacher meetings: These meetings play a crucial role in understanding how your child is performing at school and what their next steps are. Written reports are useful but so much more can be communicated face-to-face. It is also your chance to ask questions and to share information that you think may be valuable to your child’s teacher.
- Know what your child is learning: Teachers don’t always want to bother parents and parents don’t always want to bother teachers, but we all have the same common interest – your child’s education. Trust me when I say that teachers like it when parents take a keen interest in their child’s education because not every parent does, so don’t be afraid to ask teachers what your child is learning, what your child’s personal targets are and how you can help at home.
- Continue learning at home: Learning is not something that only happens in school. Children learn so much from parents before they even come to school. Moreover, learning is not just about reading, writing and maths, it is also about attitudes and ways of thinking. Children only spend 10,000 hours at school during their lifetime. While that may seem a lot, it is also said that it takes 10,000 hours to master just one skill. So if your child shows interest in a particular topic, embrace it! Challenge them further and share your child’s learning with the rest of the class.
- Understand how children learn: What we know about how children learn is changing all the time. Education too is changing to keep up-to-date with this new information. Fortunately, there is an abundance of information online about these topics.
- Share the same expectations: A very common occurrence is that parents and teachers often describe very different children. How children behave at school and at home are often very different. Why? Because the expectations of children differ and children react/adapt to that. If parents are able to model the same expectations as school, in terms of attitude, behavior and responsibilities, it will ensure a more consistent approach to learning.
- Attend school events: Every school organizes events throughout the year: open days, sports fixtures, Christmas and summer shows, and other family events. By attending these, not only does it show your child that you take a keen interest in their education, it allows you to develop your relationship with your child’s teachers further, and could make any ‘tricky’ conversations that little bit easier.
- Volunteer: Whether it is volunteering to listen to children read one morning a week, supporting teachers on educational outings or lending resources that may support children’s learning, every little bit helps.
- Become a member of the school’s Parent Teacher Group (PTG): Have your voice heard and make a difference to the things that happen in your child’s school, for the benefit of your child and every other child in the school.
- Support teachers by ensuring children are well prepared for lessons: Children who have eaten well, slept well, exercised and have all the correct materials with them at school will perform at the optimum level during the school day.
BIO: Brendan Hearne is the Deputy Headteacher at Saigon Star International School. He moved to Vietnam in August 2013, having previously taught at two award-winning schools in the UK.