While I have really enjoyed our time in the public school system (we’re finishing up year 10 right now) with our kids. We have had WONDERFUL teachers who are truly givers and blessings to our lives.
But every now and then, you realize you really need to talk to them and make changes.
Here’s my 5 tips on talking to teachers:
1. Cool your jets. There are always 2 sides to every story. You need to realize that there is a good chance that 50-75% of whatever your kid is telling you is a lie, or at least their version of the truth. Don’t automatically assume that the teacher is at fault. Don’t run the situation at 90 MPH in your head before reaching out. Get their side, and get it now.
2. Email, and ask for a phone call if you’d prefer a phone call. Teachers are so busy anymore they often don’t have time for the voicemail. Email is their tool of choice. If you want a call back, just email them to call you — and include the number/s you want to be reached at.
3. You can prepare for this type of situation by growing a relationship with them before you talk to them. That means you need to go in, help out, talk to them. Remind yourself that they’re human and this is a job. They have a life outside the classroom. Be there for them, they’re more likely to be there for you.
4. You are not their boss. While teachers want parents and students happy, ultimately you are not their boss, the principal is. You need to take that into consideration when you want them to do specific things.
5. Be careful when you loop in the principal. While I am all for looping in the principal, especially if a teacher isn’t responsive, I think you need to be careful about when you do that. You certainly don’t want to loop in the principal for every little thing and also you certainly don’t need the teacher getting in trouble for your mis-information. In the end, that makes you look bad.
6. and MOST important. You are on the same team. They really DO want what you want. They want a happy, well-adjusted child with less behavioral problems and deep relationships. If you go in thinking you’re not on the same team you will do yourself a dis-service. Take a deep breath and remember this. Maybe write it on your hand to remind you.
7. What can YOU do. You can’t plan on the school making all the difference. What do you need to do? Are there areas you need to work harder with your child, are there things you need to downplay and give them resources for when they’re upset. It is NOT the school’s job to raise your child. That’s your job. Step back to find your roll in fixing the problem.
I’ve done it, I’ve been mad and had my dander up. Luckily, I am pretty great at #3 and I tend to not have serious conversations unless it’s truly serious in my mind (I will ask here and there or maybe plant a seed in their miinds) — but #3 will save your bacon in the end. If you’re on their side to begin with #6 will be easy.
Do you have any tips for talking to teachers? Share them below!