I’ve been a teacher for 16 years and to say this year has been like none other is quite an understatement. No one knew that in March we would start a six-month spring break and return to campus under very different circumstances.
My school district is utilizing a hybrid schedule for our high school students and it is going great. We have a new learning management system, like a lot of other school districts. We’ve been back now for 3 weeks and the learning curve is large. But I think if parents, teachers, and students are all willing to work together, and communicate well, we will make it out of this with new skills and compassion for each other.
if parents, teachers, and students are all willing to work together, we will make it out of this with new skills and compassion for each other.
Tips for Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher
Tip number 1: Be prepared when you contact the teacher.
In your email or phone call, be prepared to tell the teacher which class your child is in, and if they are missing an assignment, which assignment they are missing. Teachers have hundreds of students and many classes, some of whom they may never see. If you can give the teacher all of the information up front, they can research your question and help you out faster.
Tip number 2: Unless you have physically watched your child turn in their assignments, assume that it might be “lost”.
Technology is playing a huge role in education this year and let’s be honest, sometimes it doesn’t work. Many districts are using new learning management systems and they’re having to work out problems for themselves. Hopefully, your student did turn it in; hopefully, it didn’t get lost in a technology haze, and hopefully, your teacher has grace and will allow them to still submit an assignment. I think we should go in with the mindset that the teacher is there to help the student, not hurt them.
Tip number 3: Set up alerts for the grading system and learning management system.
My own 2 children are both learning remotely so far this year. I have notifications for each system so that I can stay on top of missing work or low grades. If I get an alert, I make them show me the assignment and we try to figure it out together. If that doesn’t work, then I contact the teacher. In most cases, we can figure it out together without having to contact the teacher.
Tip number 4: Have your student contact the teacher first.
This will show the teacher they are concerned about their grade. Often, students will turn in assignments late that I have already graded. They need to communicate with their teacher to see if they will accept the work late. Learning to talk to adults is also a great life skill that all our kids need to work on!
Tip number 5: Trust the teacher first.
We are all on the same team! The last thing your child’s teacher wants is for them to fail. Teachers are in the business of helping students in any way they can. When I was in school, parents always believed the teachers first and I think as a society, we have moved away from this school of thought. This year is all about giving grace to each other, which should include teachers.
Tip number 6: Remember that teachers are people too.
They are spouses and parents just like you! They have a life outside of work and could possibly be going through the same things your family is going through. Most teachers’ hours are 8-4 but many work beyond those hours and on weekends. Everything is stressful this year and we are adjusting just like you. The worst thing you can do is contact them when you are angry and spoil the chances of forming a great relationship.
Maybe they aren’t new communication tips as much as they are revised. This year has required us all to dig deep and renew our care and concern for one another. Compassion for our teachers is essential to that plan!