After sending my first-born to school it became very apparent he was better behaved during those six hours under his teacher’s care if he knew that she and I were on the same page and that I touched base to see how he was doing. Regular communication was key for him to make the adjustment from being with me all day to being in school all day.
He was a little withdrawn at first, but once he made friends and got comfortable, he turned into the class clown. I would see her every morning at drop off, and once or twice a month, I’d ask how things were going.
Since it seemed to help keep his behavior in check, I automatically made this a habit all through elementary school with all three of my children, as most parents do. Now that I have one in middle school and one in high school, I still keep in touch regularly with their teachers although my method has changed a bit.
It can be difficult since they have several different teachers they see throughout the day and the teachers have more students shuffling through their class rooms for each period, but it has helped tremendously.
At the beginning of the school year when the high school teachers introduce themselves, I make a point to stay in touch from that moment on. I’m not talking about checking in once a week, calling constantly, or being controlling – I trust my kids’ teachers – they know their job very well.
I’m talking about letting them know if I’m seeing differences in my child, if there has been a big family change that may impact my child’s behavior at school, or if I see a sudden dip in the effort they put into their homework. The teachers know I am not asking for hand holding. I know my kids are going to make mistakes, and at this age, I expect them to fix said mistakes. I’m just giving them a heads – up.
It really keeps the lines of communication open, lets my kids know I talk to their teachers regularly, and hopefully, makes it easier for teachers to reach out to me if they have a concern. I am well aware my kids are not angels – if one of their teachers tells me they are acting up in class, then I take that seriously.
I highly doubt they would take time out of their day to inform me my child was acting up or falling behind on work if they really weren’t. They see many kids and have a lot to keep track of. If I get that type of call, I explain I will touch base again in a month (if I don’t hear from them first), and then I tell my child the plan.
High school teachers always appreciate the information, follow-up, and the fact I keep them informed. They never say they are too busy to pay a little extra attention to my child if I have a concern. It makes their life easier if they know what to look out for.
High school is a huge place and it’s easy to fall between the cracks. It’s just as important for me as a parent to keep up with communication on my end because not only is this a time in our kids’ lives when they are experimenting and learning who they want to become, it is a huge piece of their future whether they realize it or not. Colleges are looking at their grades and sports, clubs, or community service they choose to do. It’s easy to forget that when you are a carefree fourteen year old. I know I certainly did from time to time.
Some teenagers are just naturally responsible and take their academics and extracurriculars very seriously. And others need some help – there are so many temptations and distractions out there and I believe teenagers need extra support. They are able to get that boost when parents and teachers are on the same page.
So talking to my high schooler’s teachers is just as important as it was when he was in kindergarten. I don’t do it nearly as much as I did then, but I will continue as it helps everyone out – the teacher, the child, and me.
Because if parents don’t know the big things that are going on at school, they can’t help. Just like if a teacher sees a sudden change in behavior they are able to help better if they have a little background.
High school teachers love what they do and are good at it. Their number one priority is to help your child succeed. And when your child is aware you are in contact with their teacher, it can be a huge help in keeping them on track no matter what grade they are in.