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Developing Year-Long Partnerships

When there is a positive relationship between a student's parents and teacher, the child is better able to make the most of his or her school years. Furthermore, if parents and teachers work together they can figure out how to serve a child's educational needs. For example, a teacher may notice that a student is having difficulty seeing words on the classroom's chalkboard. If she shares this observation with the child's parents during a conference, they will likely take their child to have his or her vision checked. Otherwise, the parents may not have been aware of their child's difficulty in seeing the chalkboard. Helpful information that's shared during a parent-teacher conference serves to build a trusting relationship between educators and parents. After all, everyone involved wants to see the student achieve success in school. 

Parents

Young children look to their parents for direction. As a result, parents can influence the way their child views education. For example, some parents establish a particular time each day for their child to complete homework assignments. By doing so, those parents are communicating the importance of schoolwork to their child. Furthermore, if parents have a positive relationship with their child's teacher, they can solve many challenges that come up. For example, a student works diligently on a book report yet receives a poor grade for it. If the parents and teacher have a positive relationship, they will not hesitate to discuss the situation. Ideally, this open communication will lead to practical solutions.

Conference Preparation

Making a list of questions or concerns is a great way for parents to prepare for a parent-teacher conference. In addition, parents should arrive at the conference on time and with an open mind. It's important for parents to remember that the teacher is as interested as they are in their child's academic success.

Meeting Your Child's Teacher

When meeting a teacher for the first time parents should listen to the educator's impressions of their child's performance in class. In turn, parents may want to share a little information about their child's homework habits or thoughts about the teacher's class. This information may help the teacher better understand the student. Parents may also offer to volunteer for any upcoming class activities or field trips in order to establish a positive relationship with their child's teacher.

Working with Your Child's Teacher

Parents' involvement with their child's educators shouldn't end with a parent-teacher conference. In fact, there are several ways that parents can stay in contact with their child's teacher. For example, many teachers make their email address (at the school) available to parents with questions or comments. In addition, a parent can volunteer to help at class parties or field trips. A parent may even offer to speak to their child's class about his or her profession on career day. In short, there are many opportunities for parents to maintain communication with their child's teacher.

Teachers

A teacher has the power to inspire as well as guide a student in his or her education. An experienced teacher knows that parents have the biggest influence on a child. Therefore, if a teacher has the parents' cooperation and help, he or she is better able to educate the child. For instance, a child may not be completing his or her homework assignments. However, if a teacher has an open line of communication with the child's parents he or she can discuss the situation with them. Furthermore, the three of them will likely come up with solutions to the problem.

Conference Preparation

In preparing for a parent-teacher conference, a teacher may review the assignments and work of each student. A teacher may also write down points that he or she wants to discuss with the parents. Making note of each student's academic strengths is also a good idea. If a student is having challenges in class, the teacher would be wise to decide how to explain the situation to the parents.  

Meeting Your Student's Parents

If a parent-teacher conference involves meeting students' parents for the first time a teacher should take special care to dress in a professional manner. Furthermore, the classroom area should be clean and organized. A teacher may choose to talk a little about his or her education and teaching philosophy. Most importantly, a teacher must listen to the parents' point of view on their child's progress.  

Working with Your Student's Parents

There are many benefits to having the assistance and cooperation of students' parents. A teacher must be sure to alert parents of when volunteers are needed for field trips, class activities, or guest speaker opportunities. After meeting parents via conference, a teacher may want to consider sending regular emails to parents to update them on classroom news. Furthermore, if a student encounters an academic challenge the teacher may decide to call a special meeting with the child as well as the parents. In addition, a teacher may choose to send notes to parents when their children experience successes in the classroom.

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