Your child's teacher is an important person in your child's life as well as your own. As long as your child is in school, they are interacting with other adults who are shaping and molding them into functioning members of society. If you would like to be a bit more involved with the adults who are involved with your child, getting to know their teacher is a good start. You want the teacher to know your child, his or her interests, and learning style, and this starts with getting to know the teacher as a person as well as a professional.
Positive parent-teacher relationships will benefit your child.
You've likely seen many articles about proper, useful, and even unique questions to ask during a parent-teacher conference, but what about during a parent-teacher chat? These chats are usually a little spontaneous and much more relaxed as they are not necessarily centered on your child and their performance in school. If you're looking to just get to know your child's teacher a little better, these 6 questions are a great start.
1. How Are You?
It may seem simple, but asking your child's teacher how they are doing could be showing them a great deal of care. When most teachers interact with parents, it is because of something going on with their student. On most occasions, these interactions are centered on an issue or concern about the child, making the tone rather serious. What's more, teachers are often isolated to dealing with students throughout the majority of their day. Their interactions with other adults are limited, and this can cause some of them to feel a little cut off from the adult world. Simply asking how your child's teacher is doing is a great way to show them they are seen and their well-being cared for. Even if their response is a simple "fine" or "good," you can rest assured that this simple question shows them that, to you, they are not just an educator-they are also a person.
2. How Has Your Day/Week Been Going?
If "how are you?" went over well, you can take things a step further and ask about their week or their day! The life of a teacher is undoubtedly stressful, and you want to communicate that you are sensitive to their workload and stress level. You can get to know a little bit about them, their passions, and how they handle the highs and lows of everyday life outside of school by asking how their week is going, or how their day has been overall, which gives you insight into how they are managing the demands of the current class. Remember to stay light and friendly, and communicate that you care.
3. How Did You Begin your Teaching Career?
Hopefully, your child's teacher is passionate about their job and shows it. If you sense that your child's teacher truly enjoys what they do, you can ask them how they got into teaching. When asking people about their passions, you give them a chance to light up and relive why they're doing what they're doing. You can also learn about their past, their education, and what they look forward to as they grow in their career. Maybe they fell into teaching or maybe it was a lifelong ambition. When you ask this question, you're sure to get some interesting responses.
4. Do You Have Any Pets? Play Sports? etc.
Asking an acquaintance or a virtual stranger about their personal life can get a little dodgy, which is why these questions are best saved for later in the year. Some individuals may have a guard up concerning their own families or children, so start with something that might help them bond to your child, such as asking about pets if you happen to be raising an animal lover, or any other activity that your child enjoys and may provide a connection. If you can ask questions that reveal their personal interests without prying into their personal life, it can create a bond and help you establish something that they might have in common with your child.
5. How Do You Think Education is Changing?
For some, this question might be a little controversial, but it also allows your child's teacher to express their opinions about their chosen industry. Like filmmakers, realtors, nurses, and other professionals, all have an opinion about their industry and how it is changing and evolving over time. Teachers are not different and it might be helpful to know how your child's teacher feels about the current educational system as it likely affects their teaching style, curriculum, and criteria.
6. How Can I Help You?
This last question expresses your genuine support and at the same time, allows the teacher to share any concerns or questions that they otherwise might wait until much later in the school year to ask. Your child's teacher has likely been planning out the school year since the summertime, and has many ideas and plans in mind for the coming academic year. This question can help you get a big-picture idea of what your child should expect and also gives you a glimpse of the teacher's passion and drive. This conversation could lead to you getting involved with some activities and trips either as a driver, a helper, or a contributor, and clearly sets the expectation that you want to collaborate in helping your child achieve success.
Hopefully, these six questions will lead to a nice chat or a full conversation, building a better understanding of the teacher and a burgeoning friendship. For many families, a good teacher can later become a friend for life, someone invited to graduations and other important milestones. With this in mind, it makes sense to get to know your child's teacher more informally. Like you, they are a person with interesting history, thoughts, ideas, and goals. Engage them, and also facilitate the relationship between your child and the teacher.
At Brightmont Academy, the one-to-one instruction experience allows deeper relationships to be forged between students and teachers, as well as between teachers and parents. Check out our website to learn more about our educators who just may become future friends for your family.