Things You Should Ask & Tell Your Child’s Teacher

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School is quickly approaching and the summer is coming to an end. As a teacher, I am secretly cringing at the school supply displays in target.

Before you know it you will be getting notices about “Open House” night.

As a parent, maybe open house night is stressful for you. Maybe you suck at making small talk and hate to feel like you don’t know what to say.

No worries I am here to help. I have found that many parents just don’t know the types of questions to ask, or what to tell their child’s teacher.

These things will not only help you, but they will be beneficial for you, your child, and their teacher.

Tell The Teacher How Your Child Did Last Year

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Honesty is the best policy when speaking to your child’s teacher.

If you know your kiddo struggled with fractions, or they have a hard time with comprehension skills, this is something you want to share with your child’s teacher. 

Once you speak to the teacher about these things they can offer you suggestions that can help your child in these areas, and they also will make a note of this.

Knowing previous struggles helps teachers individualize your child’s instruction.

Another important fact to communicate about last year was any struggles your child may have had with other students.

If your child’s teacher knows things like this then they can possibly switch them to another one of their homeroom classes.

If switching homerooms is not a possibility, then the teacher will at least know how to seat the children and know to keep an eye on the situation.

504 & IEP’s 

If your child has a 504 plan or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) introduce your child to the teacher.

The teacher does have a roster that includes 504 and IEP information. 

However, “Meet the Teacher Night” allows the teacher to put a face to the name.

Also if you have specific things that you’d like to pinpoint about your child then this is a great time to mention them.

Some of your concerns may need to be discussed more in detail. So let the teacher know you’d like to schedule an early conference.

If your child is transferring from one school to another be honest about 504 plans and IEPs. 

If you child was in the process of getting an IEP from another district or in another state communicate that with the teacher.

The worst thing that you could do is not mention to the new school that your child has a 504 plan or was in the process of obtaining an IEP.

504 plans and IEP’s are intended to give your child the best educational experience possible. If the school is not aware of the plan then the entire process may have to start over. 

This could potentially mean that your child may not get the support they need for months. 

Sometimes when students move from one district or one state to another everything does not get transferred properly. During enrollment make sure that you mention that your child has an IEP or 504 Plan.

At meet the teacher night introduce your child and simply let the teacher know that your child has a 504 plan or an IEP.

Tell the Teacher About Traumatic Experiences

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teacher
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Just like adults, children experience trauma. If your child has gone through a traumatic experience, speak with their teacher about it.

Some common traumatic experiences children face are domestic abuse, divorce, death of a parent, loss of parental custody, and homelessness.

You may not feel comfortable going into details, but at least communicate with their teacher that they have experienced a traumatic experience.

This information allows the teacher to be alert and watch for any unusual behavior. Teachers can also provide resources to parents and students who have experienced traumatic experiences. 

Teachers can recommend students to school counselors which can help them process the trauma and deal with their feelings about it.  

School counselors can also provide teachers with tips on how to help the child be successful in the classroom.

Click here to learn more about how trauma can affect your child’s learning, behavior and relationships.

Ask The Teacher What Is The Best Way to Help Your Child

a man helping his daughter with her homework teacher assigned
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Another question that is vital to ask your child’s teacher is, “What is the best way I can help my child in your class.”

Every teacher has different ways of teaching. Some teachers are very digital while others are more into notebooks and note taking.

Knowing where to find information like class notes, weekly learning targets, and anchor charts is important.

How many times have we asked our kids what they did in school today and they respond with a two-word sentence?

When you know where to look for your child’s daily work, it helps you reinforce what skills your child has been learning in school.

Ask The Teacher How to Access Grades

If you are unsure how to check your child’s grades then definitely ask your child’s teacher how to do this. 

Oftentimes parents ask these questions around the time that grades are getting ready to be posted.

This is a very busy time for teachers and tech support. Therefore, handling this type of task early in the school year is beneficial. 

Make sure you can log in to the “parent portal” before you leave to meet the teacher night. If you have any issues logging on someone can help you right away.

Also, ask the teacher how frequently they post grades so you know when to check.

Tell The Teacher Ahead of Time About Any Future Absences

If you know your child is going to be absent for a week for a funeral, wedding, family function let the teacher know ahead of time.

This helps because prepping makeup work is very time consuming, and it gives us enough time to gather together a weeks worth of assignments for your chid.

Telling the teacher a day or two before is simply not enough time.

Informing us ahead of time also helps us see what lessons and learning goals your child will be missing out on.

This gives the teacher the opportunity to plan to pull your child for small group lessons on the material they missed while they were out.

Final Thoughts

Communicating with your child’s teacher is a must. As much as parents want teachers to communicate things to them, teachers want and need that same type of communication.

The more information we have about your child the better we are prepared to help and support your child.

Remember, as much as you want the best for your child each school year, teachers want the same thing.

~Peace & Love

A. Redd

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