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BellaOnline's Special Education Editor

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Build a Great Parent Teacher Relationship

Guest Author - Vicki McCarthy

Building and maintaining a relationship with your childís class teacher founded on mutual trust, respect, and understanding is one of the most important steps in ensuring that your childís educational and emotional needs are met. This is especially true when your child has special education needs.

By working together with the teaching and other support staff and by taking the time to understand one anotherís roles and responsibilities in caring for the child both at school and at home, great progress can be made in your childís educational journey and there can be positive outcomes for everyone involved.

Here are 5 tips to help you develop a positive relationship with your childís teacher;

1.Introduce yourself to the class teacher.

Take the time at the start of the school term to introduce yourself to the class teacher. They are probably as nervous as you are on first meeting so keep it friendly and informal and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can, should any difficulties arise with your child. Let them know that you are approachable and remember that how you are initially with someone will usually determine how they are with you in the future. By building a good relationship with your childís teacher you are also building the foundation for your child to have a great one with them.

2. Keep regular contact and open lines of communication

Discuss with the teacher the best and easiest form of communication with them. This may be regular meetings that are pre-planned, telephone calls or email to update one another on progress made or any challenges your child is experiencing. Another great way to keep the lines of communication open is a home-school diary that can be updated on a daily or even weekly basis. Remember however, that teachers can be short on time, so keep communication as short and sweet as possible.

3. Avoid conflict

Where your child is concerned, emotions can run high, especially if they are experiencing difficulties within the class or school setting, which then affects your home life. If this is the case then try to approach the teacher in a calm and reasonable manner and always be open and listen to whatever they have to say. Thereís always another side to every story! You can avoid possible conflict by having a discussion with the teacher at the beginning of the school year, about what either of you should do if problems arise and how best to approach the situation. This way, you will feel like you are working together and not against one another.

4. Provide the teacher with information about your child

A great resource for teachers when a child has special education needs is when parents write out a few paragraphs for them about their child. There can be lots of information provided to teachers about a child and lots of documents to sift through and sometimes vital information can be missed. Providing the teacher with details about your childís needs, likes/dislikes, motivations, quirks and routines can make all the difference. Keep updating throughout the school year as your child changes and grows. Explain to the teacher that by providing them with this information you hope to save them some of the time it took you to figure out your child and their little ways. Most, if not all will be grateful.

5. Acknowledge and thank the teacher for everything they do

Teachers have a huge amount of responsibility not just taking care of your child but every other child in their classroom. Therefore you can imagine how difficult some days can be for them, especially when they have many students with special educational needs. So take the time to thank your childís teacher for all that they do - even the small things. (Itís sometimes the smallest thing that makes the biggest difference). We all thrive on praise and gratitude and your childís teacher will too. The more appreciated people feel the more theyíll want to help you and your child.

Remember that teachers are only human. They wonít get it right all the time and will make mistakes along the way. However, so do we as parents. But if we learn to appreciate and respect one another and accept that we're all just doing the best we can - then only good can from it.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Vicki McCarthy. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Vicki McCarthy. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Celestine A. Jones for details.

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