How to talk to your child’s teacher

Follow these easy steps and you’ll win every time.

Make friends

Your child’s teacher will be an important figure for at least a year, so make the effort to establish a relationship with her from the first day of school. Say hello in the mornings, comment on the activities when you see something you like. Teachers seldom get thanked for their work and a little praise goes a long way.

Make an appointment

Never discuss a serious issue “on the run”. If there’s something important you want to discuss, or an issue that needs immediate attention, make an appointment to see the teacher. It will tell them you value their time and want to discuss something in a productive manner. To keep in touch with school policies and general issues, make an effort to attend parents’ evenings at your child’s school, but remember that a general meeting is not the place for raising individual issues.

Start as you mean to go on

Approach the teacher in an open manner. Walk into a parent-teacher meeting with an attitude of hostility or anger and you’ll immediately set a pattern for all interaction from there onwards. You’ll be privately labelled a ‘difficult parent’, and chances are that all your communication might be just that little bit more fraught than it needs to be.

Deal with issues quickly

If something is bothering you or your child, deal with it immediately. Don’t let the issue linger so that resentment festers and you end up with more anger about something than it necessarily deserves.

Know who to talk to

When an issue arises concerning your child, always start with the class teacher. Escalate the complaint to the senior management or headmistress only if you’re unhappy with the response.

Do your homework

Before a scheduled parent teacher meeting, do your own preparation and arrive with a list of topics you’d like to discuss. That way you’ll be systematic, and the chances of forgetting or omitting something vital are minimised.

Expect feedback

You might arrive full of righteous indignation, but remember that discussion is a two-way street and you might hear feedback about your child that you don’t necessarily like. Try to listen objectively and openly, rather than leaping into defensive mode, and work with the teacher to resolve problems and issues. After all, teachers want happy children in their classes.


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