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Tips to communicate with your child’s teacher

| Jul 9, 2021 | Education Law |

When parents communicate effectively and build a working relationship with their child’s teacher, it can often be incredibly beneficial to their educational journey. This relationship is often even more important if children have disabilities and receive special education services.

In a recent blog post, we discussed how communication between parents and teachers is changing drastically thanks to the effects of virtual learning. However, regardless of whether it is virtual or in-person, establishing that line of communication – and that relationship – is not always easy.

So, here are some tips to help California parents communicate with their child’s teachers.

Five steps to open – and maintain – lines of communication with teachers

Of course, a working relationship requires efforts from both teachers and parents. However, parents, in particular, should take the initiative and advocate for their children. To begin building this relationship, parents should:

  • Prepare: As always, the first step parents should take is to prepare themselves. It often helps to write down notes about talking points they wish to address. Additionally, parents might wish to review sources dedicated to helping parents discuss learning disabilities with teachers – especially teachers who may not be as familiar with them as others.
  • Get in touch early: It is usually near the end of the summer that students learn who their child’s teachers will be. Parents do not need to reach out to teachers immediately, but it is helpful to connect earlier rather than later, even before the school year starts. This is also when time is more flexible for teachers.
  • Introduce them to the child: This does not necessarily mean parents need to bring their child to the first meeting with the teacher – though they certainly can. Primarily, this means it is important to explain the specific challenges the child struggles with, and help teachers understand their needs.
  • Determine the best point of contact: The means of communication will be different for every teacher – and every parent. Some prefer digital communication, such as text or email, while others might prefer regular in-person meetings.
  • Strive for solutions: As the school year goes on, it is common for parents to feel frustrated at times. When their child struggles, they often feel the pain. It is so critical to establish lines of communication with teachers, so parents can reach out to them first. They can share their concerns and work together to find a solution.

It is important to note that if teachers continue to ignore the child’s needs or their individualized education plan (IEP), parents have the right to file a complaint. However, it often helps to address these issues with the teacher first, before taking the steps towards a complaint.

Usually, teachers want nothing more than to help their students succeed. If parents get involved and work with their child’s teacher, it can help them do just that.