“You Haven’t Talked with Your Child’s Teacher in How Long?”
It’s Saturday afternoon and you just dropped the kids off at practice like usual. The next thing on your list is to pick up groceries for the week, so you head over to FairPrice. You arrive, and as you pass from the humid climate outside into the chilled air-con, you see a familiar face.
“Hello, Miss Linda. Good to see you again. How are you?”, you say.
Silence, for a good three seconds. Only a courteous smile and a slight tilt of the head. “I’m wonderful, and you? How is your little one doing today?” she responds.
“My little one?”, you laugh, “My little one is great today. She is actually excited to do her homework, believe it or not! She’s really beginning to enjoy your art class.”
“Oh, that’s great to hear. I’m really very glad to hear that.”
You start to wonder why your child’s school teacher is acting differently than when you saw her at the parent-teacher meeting a few months back…
A few months…that’s kind of a long time…
And that’s when it hits you: She doesn’t know who you are.
Unfortunately, this situation is all too plausible for parents in Singapore.
The vast majority of parents in our nation have high expectations for their children and are very invested in their education. Yet a large number of parents fail to take full advantage of one of the greatest catalysts for student growth: parent-teacher communication. And that’s a shame.
But look, we’re not in the habit of condemning parents or teachers here. Far from it.
In fact, we’re more in the habit of applauding them for the amazing sacrifices they make every day to benefit our students.
So in the interest of benefiting our students even further, we’d like to briefly discuss a few tips for conducting parent-teacher relationships in a healthy and constructive way.
Your Child’s Teacher is Not a McDonald’s.
Silly as it sounds, many parents tend to treat teachers like they are a McDonald’s. They think that they can simply “place their order” and everything they asked for will be delivered shortly.
“Yes, hi. I’d like a large A1 on my son’s ‘O’ Level exam, hold the complaining and hours of studying. Oh, and a side of high marks in his Maths class too, please.”
Yeah, good luck with that.
We have truly excellent teachers in Singapore, and the international success of our students testifies to this truth. But education is a process and a very gradual one at that. Yes, sometimes quick results do happen, but this is not the norm.
Far more common than “quick-results” accounts are the success stories of students who–along with their teachers and parents–have put in the long, diligent hours required to reach their academic goals.
It is our express purpose to facilitate such success stories. Read some of them here.
And for goodness sake, please don’t treat your child’s teacher like a fast-food joint!
Communication is a Two-Way Street
Some parents find it helpful to think of their child’s teacher as the head coach of the team, of which they are a vital part.
In this scenario, parents are “assistant coaches” on the team that their son or daughter is playing on. This can be a humbling stance, to be sure, because it requires putting a good amount of trust in the head coach. But if you can manage it, your child will enjoy an incredibly productive educational climate.
Being the assistant coach means that it is your duty to “run practice” when the head coach cannot be there (i.e.- homework and study time). It is also your duty to offer input that will be helpful to the head coach regarding your child.
Communicate with the coach consistently, discussing questions like: How far can our team make it this year? What is our player’s weakness? His strength? What type of teaching does he respond to best? What area has he been underperforming recently?
This type of regular interaction is essential to creating optimal conditions for student growth. Communication is a two-way street, and parents and teachers can help each other in more ways than we often realize.
How Often Should I Speak with My Child’s Teacher?
“Okay, fine. Consider me as an assistant coach. But exactly how often should I be speaking to my child’s teacher?”
Glad you asked. There are two simple steps to determining how often the two of you should be communicating.
- Ask your child’s teacher.
- Agree on a preset “check-in” day and stick to it.
Communication can be face-to-face or via email, phone call, text, etc., depending on the school and the teacher’s preferences. As long as you “check-in” on a consistent basis, there are many forms of communication that will do just fine.
At Eye Level, we know that teachers become better teachers by speaking with parents. And in the same way, parents become better parents by talking to teachers. Win-win.
That’s why we are offering you the chance to come to our enrichment center and meet a teacher for a free Diagnostic Test. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a free consultation where you can find out more information about our classes and ask any questions you like.
Register for your free consultation and Diagnostic Test today. This offer isn’t going to last forever!