It’s back to school season and one of the most valuable things you can do now is also one of the easiest. Let your child know that your child’s teacher has a special role in your family. Your child should consider them like an extended family member.
Children benefit enormously when teachers and parents work effectively together. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve heard that your child’s teacher is great, or the opposite. Your child’s teacher needs to know that you respect and support them. Your child needs to know, too.
This is particularly important if you have concerns about your child’s teacher. As the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being.”1
Teach your child to respect teachers
You can make this point in different ways. Tell your child how important teachers are to society. Share something positive you have heard about the teacher. Explain that teachers are always to be treated with respect. Let your child know that you have spoken personally to the teacher and shared something about their strengths. If possible, Let your child see you doing something supportive for the teacher and school.
As the education researcher Tony Bryk has described, trust and respect among parents and teachers is a core resource for successful schools. Trust is fostered through successful interactions, when people feel listened to and when they feel confident in others’ skills.2
Trust is kind of a chicken and egg thing. Less trust means less successful social interaction, which leads to less satisfying results for kids and everybody, which leads to even less trust. More trust leads to more successful social interaction which leads to more satisfying results which in turn leads to even more trust.
You can stack the deck in your favor for your child, yourself, and your school by offering trust and respect freely and proactively. By doing so, you are increasing the odds that your child’s teacher will live up to your expectations, and exercise the best possible influence on your child and all the children of the school.
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- Goodreads, accessed July 10, 2020, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/419209-treat-people-as-if-they-were-what-they-ought-to
- Anthony S. Bryk and Barbara Schneider, Trust in Schools.