Get to Know Your Teacher... before your teacher wants to get to know you!
by Sam Glyn Nava, B.S.Ed, M.S.CCC-SLP, Alphabet Kids Director of Educational Resources
All too often the first time parents get to know their child's teacher is when something is wrong. Whether it be a concern about slipping academics or a behavior problem - meeting for the first time under these conditions is not pleasant for anyone involved.  Now that it's still early in the school year, make it a point to contact your children's teachers. They will appreciate that you are reaching out to get to know them...and that you are taking an interest in your child's education. Here are six tips on getting to know your child's teacher:
  1. Introduce Yourself: Plain and simple, some schools have a Back-to-School Night in the beginning of the year. These are great events- but teachers are swamped! Take a moment out of your day - in the morning or after-school, to stop by the school and let the teacher know who you are and which of their students is your child.    
  2. Find out What to Expect: When you meet with the teacher, ask what this year's work will be like, what kinds of projects are being done, what trips the class will take?  The more you know about what the year will entail, the more prepared the whole family will be to successfully tackle the tasks.   
  3. Volunteer: If you are able and can spare the time, teachers can always use an extra set of hands, eyes, ears, etc. in the classroom. From walking the class to the lunchroom to helping create a bulletin board, having another adult to help out is a big plus for the teacher. BUT, be sure to speak with the school office first. Many schools only allow volunteers who have been pre-registered with the district for  safety reasons. Check with the rules of your individual school first.  
  4. Donate Classroom Necessities: If you do not have the time to volunteer a helping hand, find out what supplies the class may need. Teachers are grateful to receive almost anything from tissues and drawing paper to hand sanitizer and pencils. Anything that the class can use is appreciated by teachers (who typically spend hundreds out of their own pockets for their students).   
  5. An Apple for the Teacher: Whether it's an apple or a card; sending your child to school with a small token of appreciation is a really nice gesture.  These do not need to be given too often or made extravagant, but just a little something to let the teacher know that your family thanks him/her for teaching your child this year.  
  6. Stay Involved: Throughout the year check in with the teacher, via phone, note or email - ask the teacher what is the best way to get in touch. Also, many schools now have online grade books where parents can track kids progress throughout the year. Communicate with your child's teacher now, at the beginning of the year on how you should keep in touch with him/her. Both you and the teacher will appreciate having this information should you need to reach one another.