• 5 Ways To Make Your Child's Teacher Your BFF

    Your partnership will ensure a smooth-sailing schoolyear for your child
    by Kat Castaneda .
  • 5 Ways To Make Your Child's Teacher Your BFF
    IMAGE learningfirst.org
  • You have now found a school that fits your personal beliefs and has a teaching philosophy that matches yours. If it's your first time to send your little one to school, heed these tips for building a healthy relationship with your child's second mother in his second home.

    1. Communicate
    There's no better way to express your thoughts and concerns than telling the teacher directly. If you're a bit apprehensive to approach her and think she is too busy to attend to you, then a simple note or letter to be given before or after class will do.
    If you are concerned about your child's grades, you might want to assess his school performance first. Avoid putting the blame on the teacher straight away. Again, it's good to communicate with her directly and to ask for her help with solving the problem. Listen to her advice, and be willing to explore all options with her, even if it means acknowledging that your child does need help.

    Teacher says: "I like parents who ask even the simplest questions. It shows how involved in and concerned they are with their child's performance in school." - Carmela Maniego, grade school eacher at Xavier School, San Juan City

    2. Follow up
    Some parents, especially those who are quite busy with work, tend to rely on the teachers too much. They let them decide even when it comes to personal matters, such as what food to buy for lunch. Remember, you still have the responsibility to constantly check up on your child after school hours. Check his homework, and note upcoming school events, such as a play, for example, where he plays a lead role. You don't want your child feeling left out just because you were too busy with your meeting the day before. If you really can't prepare something for, say, a potluck Linggo ng Wika celebration, then let the teacher know right away so she could make the necessary adjustments. 

    Teacher says: "I salute the parents [of my public-school students] who know how to cooperate [with their children's teacher]. Despite the lack of funds, I still see parents trying their best to bring the children to school and give them money for baon." - Loreen Eslao, volunteer teacher at Teach for the Philippines, a nonprofit organization

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    3. Trust your teachers
    As the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover. From the orientation or the very first day of school, pay attention to the teacher's reminders, and not how she matched her outfits. Teachers are trained to work with kids -- they know much about children's behavior and how to handle it. Let the teacher work her magic. 

    Teacher says: "Parents who do not pressure me are the best. They simply [trust] that I [know how to] handle their kids. Yes, I do make mistakes, but I can acknowledge them without the [need to be] judged." - Jaea Kiocho, grade school teacher at Xavier School, San Juan City

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    4. Know your boundaries
    Teachers have personal lives, too. You may think that adding your child's teacher on Facebook is a friendly gesture, but the truth is you may be invading her personal space. Do not be too intrusive. You can still learn about her likes and dislikes (if you want to send her, say, a Christmas present) based on your child's stories. If you have school-related concerns, find the right time to approach her or send her a note. 

    Teacher says: "Some parents expect me to be available at all times, even after school hours. In my case, I don't reply to inquiries after 10 p.m. I also need to attend to my own personal needs." - Vicka Siddayao, kinder teacher, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Quezon City

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    5. Relax
    When parents get too involved in their child's school performance, this may lead to a competitive attitude towards other parents and even other students. Relax -- your child is in school to learn and also to make friends. Let him do what he needs to do, and everything else will follow.

    Teacher says: "The best way to help parents be more at ease with their child's education is to change their perspective. We teachers educate their child not [so he will get high] grades and [win] awards but in the hope that when he does achieve these [awards], it would be because he has acquired the skills (e.g., planning, researching, etc.) and the values (e.g., resiliency, independence, etc.) needed to get there." - Yna Mendiola, teacher at Mentari International School in Indonesia

    This article first appeared in the August 2015 issue of Smart Parenting magazine with the title "6 Ways to Keep a Healthy Parent-Teacher Relationship" 

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