Schools that value good communication between the home and school must develop ways to maintain contact with the parent over time in a way that builds mutual respect.
Teachers and parents can build an atmosphere of mutual respect if each tries to understand the other's perspective. Parents understandably and appropriately tend to focus their attention on their own children, while teachers think of the individual students as members of a group.
Parents and teachers need to keep expectations clear. This requires keeping the lines of communication open, and that's something parents and teachers both have to work on. As a way to provide the time that's necessary to build relationships, some creative schools pair families with a teacher who will remain with the family over the course of the school years. These kinds of relationships can last well beyond graduation!
As a parent, you should know what's going on in your child's classroom and why. A teacher who values good communication with parents will invite you to ask questions, and explain why things are done the way they are. If you are concerned about how things are done, talk to the teacher about it. While you're trying to come to a better understanding, keep this communication between you and the teacher -- don't talk about it over the salad bar at the grocery store. On the other hand, if you see good things happening in the classroom, tell everyone you know. Praise for teachers seems to be in short supply these days, and it's important to broadcast good news about schools.
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