Your child has a new teacher. This can change many things about your child’s learning. The new teacher may have a very different teaching style from the last teacher, different class rules, expectations around homework, and a new way of delivering the curriculum.
Your child will need to adjust to this ‘new normal’ in order to make the best of the new school year. It can be difficult to do this. Some children lose many weeks of learning because they are struggling to make these adjustments.
You need to help. But how can you help when you don’t know your child’s new teacher or how he or she will be working with your child?
Go to ‘Meet the Teacher’ night. (Teachers call it Meet the Creature’ but we won’t comment on that!). Attending this important meeting is not enough, you need to know how to get the information that is going to help you give your child the support he or she needs.
Here are tips on how to make that happen.
- Understand the purpose of the meeting.
This is a ‘get to know you’ meeting not a time to go into detail about your child’s learning issues. You may only have a few minutes to connect with the teacher – make them count.
- Take a photo of your child.
The teacher may not know which student you ‘belong’ to. I have had several conversations with parents only to realize that I was talking about the wrong child! Having a photo of your child really helps.
- Decide what the teacher needs to know about your child.
Does your child have a specific learning need? A special interest? A sibling in the school? Letting the teacher know this will help him or her connect to your child. Keep it short. Only one sentence please not a whole dissertation. If the teacher wants to know more she can follow up later.
- Know what you want to know.
What burning question do you have about the upcoming school year? Do you want to know how your child’s progress will be assessed? What the expectations are around homework? What the teacher would like you to do to help her or your child? Choose one question and go with it. If you have more ask to schedule a time when you can get them answered.
- Remember and respect other parents
These meeting tend to be short, do not take up too much of the teacher’s time. Respect the fact that other parents will want to talk to the teacher too. (And that they will have good questions to ask if they follow my blog!)
- Thank the teachers for their time
A quick ‘thanks’ as you are leaving goes along way to building a good relationship. These meetings are over and above what teachers do on a regular basis. Please acknowledge that.
- Don’t give up
These meetings are short and sweet (we hope!) but cannot answer all your questions. Don’t assume that this is the last meeting you will need to schedule – you need more information and will need to take the time to do this. Don’t give up. Your child needs your support.