Establishing strong relationships with teachers has always been an important factor in making sure kids can feel good and do their best in school. Learn five key tips for starting a dialogue with your kids’ new teachers so that you can start to form this critical relationship with them.
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In our first episode we’re going to be talking about how to introduce yourself to your kids’ new teacher or teachers if they're in middle or high school.
Establishing strong relationships with teachers has always been an important factor in making sure kids can feel good and do their best in school.
When you know your kids’ teachers, you can fire off check in emails to hear how things are going in the classroom without having to wait for a report card, or let them know if something important or difficult is going on at home.
This kind of relationship means that your child is getting the kind of support they need to do and feel their best seamlessly and home and at school.
And as your child builds their relationship skills with their teachers, they grow in their ability to advocate for themselves and get the support they need when they need it without having to wait until after school for you to talk to their teachers for them.
And after the last few years we’ve had, forming this kind of relationship with teachers has become crucial. And more complicated!
Kids, teachers, and parents are all more burnt out than ever.
And most of us are going back to school with a whole new set of worries about child’s schooling that we couldn’t even fathom two or three years ago, with no precedent for communicating with teachers about any of it.
So, in this episode, I’m going to give you my five key tips for starting a dialogue with your kids’ new teachers this fall so that you can start to form this critical relationship with them. AND I’m going to give you two fill-in-the-blank email templates that you can use to start the conversation so you don’t have to think up what to say from scratch.
All that’s coming up after this quick break.
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We are back and I am so ready for you to have these key five tips for introducing yourself to your child’s teachers so that you can start building your relationship with them and take a huge crucial step toward setting your child up for success with the school year.
So I’m going to jump right into Tip #1 which is:
Commit to sending a note as soon as you have the teachers’ contact information
Listen, we are all busy, especially as kids are transitioning back into school.
It is so incredibly easy to put things off that are not “required” in favor of things that have to get done. Right. Now.
You won’t set off any alarm bells if you don’t reach out to your kids’ teachers to introduce yourself.
The school won’t send a note home.
Your kids won’t pester you.
There will be no glaring immediate consequences.
Which is why if you don’t prioritize doing it, it won’t get done.
But if you don’t do it, you’ll know that your kids’ teachers don’t know the most important details of what your kids went through last year. The things that if they did know, they might be able to help you watch out for this year.
So recognize emailing your kids’ teachers at the beginning of the school year as a gain task, and do it as soon as you have their email address.
I promise you’ll feel a mountain of relief.
And if you’re not convinced, keep on listening to find out why.
Which brings me to Tip #2:
Be clear on why you’re taking the time to introduce yourself
Are you going to get to meet your kids’ teachers on Back To School Night? Yes (as long as you’re able to go and they’re not sick that night).
Will you have the opportunity to talk with them after their presentation about the class? Maybe (if there’s not a huge line of other parents wanting to do the same in the few minutes before you have to go to the next classroom).
Will the teacher remember everything you say if you do get to talk to them? Uhmm…
Sending a short note to your kids’ new teachers at the beginning of the year gives you the opportunity to
communicate your care and involvement in your child’s education
give the teachers the exact information that you want to make sure they have about your kid
and open a line for communication so that when communication is needed, it can happen right away
And you can do all of that in one relatively short introductory email that the teacher can go back to for reference as many times as they need. You just need to make your purpose explicit.
Which brings us to Tip #3:
Tell them what you want them to know
It’s no secret that teachers have a lot on their plates. They’re juggling a lot of information and a ton of competing priorities while working hard to educate many students.
They want the information that’s going to help them best serve each of their pupils. But they most likely do not have the time or resources to track it all down.
You know your kid best.
You know what they were most challenged by in the last year and a half.
You know how they’ve changed.
You know what they’re good at and where they struggle.
And you know what they try to hide from everyone else.
So let the teacher know what specific concerns you have for your child this year.
If your child experienced something that has had a lasting impact on them, like a loss, mental health crisis, increased anxiety, etc., give the teacher 1–2 sentences of information about that experience. Do make sure your child has consented to you sharing beforehand.
If your child has a 504 or an IEP, you’ll want to state that as well. You can also consider providing a summary of the accommodations or modifications in your child’s plan.
All of your kids’ teachers do have access to these plans, but depending on how many students they have, it may take them a while to read through them thoroughly, if they get to at all. That may not be how it’s supposed to work, but this email isn’t about how things are supposed to work in the school system. It’s about your child and what you want to make sure is known in their classrooms from Day 1.
Now we’ve arrived at Tip #4 which is:
Give them an idea of what you’re doing at home
If you have implemented any systems or strategies at home to help your child be successful in school — whether they’re new or old — it’s helpful to let your child’s teachers know what those are.
Even if the teacher isn’t going to have any role in the system or have to do anything with the strategy, I can tell you as a former teacher that it is always nice to have a window into what’s going on at home. And to know how families are working at the same time I am to help their child succeed.
By sharing what you’re doing at home to support your child, the teacher will also know what systems and strategies your child already has in place that they may be able to leverage if they see your child start to struggle in class.
Creating this kind of transparency and open system can make a huge difference in a child’s school experience.
And that leads us directly into Tip #5:
Create an opening for a meaningful dialogue
You are introducing yourself to your child’s teachers to start a relationship.
So, the final critical thing you’ll want to do when you make your introduction is to invite a response.
To do this, you’re going to 1) invite the teacher to also share with you anything that they would like you to know and 2) make a specific ask.
These two things are going to make it clear that you are not just trying to impose yourself on their work as your child’s teacher. You see them as the expert educator and are open to their input and recommendations. And the specific ask makes it clear that you are expecting and looking out for their response. It also makes it easier for them to respond because they don’t necessarily have to think of something to say. They can give you a direct answer to the question that you asked.
Remember, overworked and burnt out is the general state of teaching right now.
With this back and forth interaction, you have opened up a clear line of communication that can quickly and easily be used anytime during the school year.
And that’s really the bottom line when it comes to introducing yourself to your child’s new teachers this way.
The introduction reduces friction.
It makes it so there is less in the way between you and your kids’ classrooms, between their teachers and the information they need about the kids, and between home and school.
So I invite you to go for it!
Like I said at the top of the episode, I am here to give you concrete tools you can use right away to help your child thrive in school, and today’s tools are email templates you can use to easily and effectively introduce yourself to your kid’s teachers. There’s one for you AND one for your kiddo so they can introduce themselves as well.
All you have to do is fill in the blanks on the template. No need to start from scratch!
You can find the link to those templates in the show notes, and to make it even easier for you to, I’m also going to send the templates straight to your inbox. Depending on when you’re listening to this episode, you may already have them!
Thanks so much for listening. I am so happy to have gotten to share how to introduce yourself to your kids new teachers.
In the next episode I’m going to be giving you 4 questions you can ask your kids every day to enhance their academic achievement, improve self-esteem, and of course deepen your connection.
I’ll see you in the next episode!