For many of us this isn’t an issue. However, for a multitude of reasons, for some parents it is.
Here are some golden rules about communicating with your child’s school or teacher.
No matter what your previous experience of education, when you first make contact with your child’s school, start with the expectation that the staff are going to be friendly and helpful.
Praise positive experiences
Most parents only contact their child’s school if there’s a problem or if they want to complain. As we all tend to get defensive when issuing or fielding a complaint, it’s easy for one or both sides to become confrontational. If your child has done something at school that they particularly enjoyed, drop a note to the teacher to say ‘thanks’. This establishes you as a positive parent and if you have to raise a concern it’s balanced by having established that you’re normally very supportive of the work of the school.
Remember that there are usually two sides to every story so don’t go jumping off the deep end if your child comes home from school upset. When your child has calmed down, listen to what they have to say and then contact the school. A good approach to take is “ My son came home from school today quite upset. He said that...(explain the problem). I was wondering if you could look into this for me so we can get to the bottom of what happened so we can sort the problem out”.
Keep the school informed
Remember, things that happen out of school may affect your child in school. Schools are quite often blamed for upsetting children over a situation they knew nothing about. No one working in a school wants to upset a child just for the sake of it. They do however want to support each child as much as possible. By informing the school of family problems or concerns, schools can bring a whole battery of support which will help rather than hinder you.
Be a ‘professional’ parent
Don’t run away from your responsibilities. Increasingly, more and more families are getting rid of their telephone landlines and replacing them with mobile phones. Make sure that your child’s school have your mobile phone number. The majority of parents will only be contacted by phone when there is a real problem or a medical emergency.