Posted by myideas1 on July 3rd, 2008
Parents, you are your child’s first teacher. You know what can create a successful or disastrous day for your child. Be confident that you can offer valuable information to the school staff about meeting your child’s needs. In order to sufficiently do so, you must know your child's (IEP) Individual Education Plan. Be sure to understand the details, specifically in the areas of: goals and objectives, placement, and supportive aids (classroom modifications and testing accommodations).
The person who initiates communication can set the tone for the relationship. Waiting until you receive that phone call or letter from school before making a formal introduction creates a reaction versus a proactive purposeful intent. Educators are there to support your child’s educational experiences. See them as a friend or colleague. Remember that as with any other relationship, the more you are supportive, the better the relationship works.
In order to truly know what is working or not working at your child’s school or in the class, you must be present. Schools and teachers appreciate volunteers. Begin with your child’s class. You may start by reviewing your child’s homework, send in an extra set of supplies for the class, and make preliminary phone calls to set up a field trip, or gather materials for centers or projects. Those tasks may seem simple but really can support a teacher especially if he/she does not have a class assistant.
Some teachers are apprehensive about class volunteers, when they are secretly there as class spies. Being present is about building a rapport and trust with the teacher, so be mindful that your actions and words should be ones that uplift and support the relationship you desire for the sake of your child.
Do not be dismayed by a teacher who refuses your support or presence. Begin by making small gestures of a weekly phone call or email. Sometimes teachers are overwhelmed and thinking about how you may help her possibly just gives her one more thing to do. Instead of waiting for her to give you a task, be observant. Notice things that may be needed in the class when you drop off or pick up your child. Look at project details or newsletters to identify ways you could contribute with those activities. Find out more.