Your child must have her teacher’s dedicated support for the school year to go well. But how do you get the teacher, who most likely has 20 to 30 other students, to give her the extra attention she needs? As with any relationship, there are ways, and then there are ways, to get what you ask for. These strategies will go a long way toward winning the teacher over.
- Work on the solution, not the problem. When you walk in with complaints and demands, you’ll get back resentment. So when you go to the teacher with your child’s problems, bring and focus on possible solutions. This opens up discussion rather than shutting it down, and leads to positive results.
- Give, and you’ll get. Most teachers spend some of their own money on classroom supplies (oh, those budget cuts!). Ease your teacher’s burden by asking what supplies he’s low on and getting them for him. Do this regularly. He’ll be grateful.
- Compliment him. It never hurts to tell a teacher how good he is with the kids, or that you’ve noticed he’s amazing with writing instruction. Make him feel he’s appreciated, and he’ll appreciate you — even when you ask him for still more for your child.
- Sympathize with him. It’s hard to be a teacher, especially a good one. Show yours that you’re aware of what a huge task he has nurturing so many kids, how tough it must be sometimes, and how well he does it.
- Volunteer your time. Offer to do a read-aloud for the class (how about an ADHD-related book?), or share your expertise in a lesson with the students. Volunteer to accompany class trips, or to help some of the (other) kids with one-on-one reading. The teacher will love you for it, and you’ll get to know him better as you spend time with the class.
- Care about the other kids, too. Don’t always talk about your own child. Commiserate with the teacher about Johnny, who, you notice, is such a sweet child but struggles so with reading. Let the teacher know that you care about all the children, just as he does.
- Respect his time constraints. Try to be brief when you discuss your child. Tell your teacher that you know how busy he is, and that you’ll try not to take too much of his time. Thank him profusely for giving extra time to your child.
- Ask him what he needs. The magic question: “Is there anything I can do for you?” Most likely, there won’t be much, but the teacher will be appreciative that you cared enough to ask.