Since your child has started getting services, you have probably had your fair share of educators come into your life, and sometimes into your home. In Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings and IFSP meetings, we often say that we work together as a team to help your child. However, many times there is a disparity between the parent and the teacher. Working with your child’s teacher will help them reach their maximum potential. The biggest tip I can give you is that you need to communicate. Communicate often! Communicate at least weekly or even daily.
Here are 5 ways to communicate that will build a partnership with your educator:
1. Communicate the highs and lows.
If your child had a rough night, tell your teacher. This has the possibility of impacting their day at school. If they had a great weekend, tell the teacher. You could even send pictures to the teacher of fun things that happened over the weekend so your child could share their experience at school.
2. Inform your teacher of things that your child loves and hates.
For example, if Finding Nemo scares your child, let the teacher know so she won’t use a Nemo sticker as a reward. The teacher needs to know what your child has adverse reactions to. If your child loves Spongebob, your teacher can use thatin the classroom to make rewards meaningful, and lessons engaging.
3. Discuss new skills and new behaviors
When your child has a new skill, jot down a note for your teacher. Sometimes students will not generalize skills from one environment to another. Therefore, it is important to maintain a flow of communication. When you see new behaviors at home, you may also want to tell the teacher to see if your child is doing these behaviors at school as well. Keep the dialogue open to work cohesively together as a team.
4. Say thank you.
Teaching is a joy for me! The best teacher is still human. It means the world to know that the effort I make is noticed and appreciated. I don’t teach for a thank you. I teach because I love kids and God has called me to teach. But a thank you sure does lift my spirits on a tough day.
5. Offer to help.
Many teachers spend their own money on their classroom supplies. If you can help in any way, it will be much appreciated. It doesn’t have to be much- a box of Lysol wipes, holiday stickers from the dollar store, etc. If you have some extra time, ask your teacher if she has crafts to be assembled or packets to staple. If you have means to help, you will BLESS the socks off your teacher.
These tips are simple, but based on my experience, and the experiences of many of colleagues, parents that use these tips are rare. One last word of advice, if your teacher writes notes, initial or comment so that he/she knows you read the note. The teacher will probably be more inclined to write notes if I know the parents are reading.So send emails, write notes, be kind, and consider your child’s educator as someone on your team to help your child.