Janet Fox, Claesgens, Mark A. | 7/21/2007 12:53:01 AM
With the start of the school year, parents often have high expectations and positive thoughts for the coming school year. Getting off to a great start requires three simple, but important, ingredients, according to LSU AgCenter 4-H youth development professor Dr. Janet Fox.
The three parts are communication, understanding the role of a parent and respecting the role of a teacher.
A strong connection between families and teachers is essential for building a positive environment for children. Too often, parents and teachers do not effectively communicate with each other, thereby limiting opportunities for developing open, respectful and trusting relationships. Parents should have a clear understanding of a teacher’s communication style when communicating with them.
"If something occurs at school that bothers your child or you, calmly discuss it with your child’s teacher at an appropriate time and setting," Fox said, explaining that open, respectful communication often clarifies a situation before it becomes a problem.
Miscommunication, or limited communication between adults, can lead to situations that adversely affect all parties involved.
Parents play an important role in supporting their child’s education. It’s important that parents stay abreast of what’s happening in the classroom through discussions with the teacher, the child’s homework and notes sent home. Parents should know what the child is studying so they can provide supplemental material to aid in learning.
Whenever possible, parents should actively participate in their child’s school. A wide range of opportunities are available from chaperoning field trips, helping with a school fundraiser to doing paperwork for the teacher.
Understanding and respecting the role of a teacher is an important step in building a solid partnership with your child’s teacher. Parents should be aware of classroom structure and teacher preferences. Parents can strengthen the bond between their child and his or her teacher by helping to establish an attitude of trust and respect within the home.
When the teacher’s name is mentioned in conversations at home, it’s important to show interest in your child’s interactions with the instructor. Finally, it’s important that teachers know you appreciate their efforts.
"Children benefit most from healthy, reciprocal relationships between teachers and families," Fox said, noting, "Like most relationships, these require time to nurture mutual respect, cooperation and comfortable communication."
For related family topics, click on the Family and Home link at the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.