Guest Author - Becky Wilson
Most, if not all, teachers appreciate a letter or email from parents--even if the school year is well underway. She can read it at her leisure, and itís a written, tangible record of your contact with her. You can provide her with all of your contact information. Most importantly, you can explain information about your adopted child in a semi-private manner. Here are some suggestions you may find helpful:
Keep it simple. This isnít the time to go in depth about every concern or tidbit of information about your adopted child. You are briefing the teacher to make him aware of something that could arise between the first day of school and the first parent-teacher conference.
Include all of your contact information. Specify what method is the best way to contact you, including what time of day is best. However, keep in mind that your best method of contact might be inconvenient for the teacher. Ask in your letter for the teacher to share with you her best method and time for contacting her with concerns or other information.
Provide a few resources for the teacher. Be careful to avoid information overload, but do provide a few sources of information for the teacher to read at his leisure. If you have a brochure or short article to help explain a point, include it with the letter. If there is a book you hope the teacher will read, include the title and author. If you have a copy of the book, offer to loan it to her.
Be judicious when sharing private information. Some private information is beneficial to the child-teacher relationship, some is not necessary to share. For example, if your child was in a situation before coming to your home where teachers were to be feared, share that information with your childís teacher. Of course, youíll most likely want to share any information about learning differences. If it is something that could affect your childís academic performance or behavior, share it. If the information will not affect your child at school, wait to share it with your teacher.
If you are making a request, offer possible solutions and keep an open mind. Whenever you make a request to the school or classroom teacher on behalf of your child, remember that there may be other possible solutions. Policy, classroom dynamics, the teacher perspective, classroom dynamics or other factors may require a different solution.
When requesting a meeting, offer the dates and times that are most convenient for you. Sharing your availability can expedite the scheduling process by allowing the teacher to immediately look at her schedule to see if your availability is compatible with her schedule.
Most important when writing to your child's teacher, be respectful in your communication and keep your letter or email as breif as possible while sharing all the information applicable to the situation. Most teachers truly do want what is best for their students and will do their best to make sure your child has what he needs to be successful in school.