You have a request, you need to get some information, or its conference time – how are you going to get the teacher to listen to you? If talking to teachers has your panties in a twist, let me (metaphorically) untwist them for you.
1) Forget all the negative things you’ve heard about teachers in general and your child’s teacher in particular. Even if one of your other kids has had this same teacher, don’t make assumptions about him/her. Most teachers do not fall into teaching because there was nothing else to do. Most people would rather do nothing than teach! Generally speaking, teachers are called to teach – they have an inner need to share their love of a particular subject or, in my case, change the world! And teachers learn and change just like other humans: they grow wearier and less patient or more confident and more compassionate. Approach your communication with optimism. You’ll feel better and so will that teacher.
2) Approach all communications with a sense of partnership rather than adversity. Oddly enough, you and the teacher are on the same page. Use words like, “Partner,” “Partnership,” “Partnering,” “Team up,” etc. Instead of talking about how much you care about your child’s education (teachers know that), talk about how you can team up to make the teacher’s job easier and your child’s year more fun and/or educational. Say things like, “How can I support you?” or “You’re the professional: what would you recommend?” Your child’s teacher would be thrilled with some parental cooperation. And really, you and your child will get more good attention from the teacher if you’re not approaching the situation all worried and tense.
3) Bribe the teacher. Bribe is such a harsh word, but it’s so effective. Be friendly with the teacher and give him or her a gift(s). And speaking of gifts – make it a goody. The best gift you can give a teacher (aside from a pay raise) is the chance for a nice meal. Out in public rather than sitting at his/her desk grading papers. In a not fast food place. Maybe there’s alcohol involved. Like an adult. Your child’s teacher thinks about your child every single day and most nights and weekends too. That is a true statement. Let teachers know that you appreciate them caring for your child.
A bonus tip: When all is said and done, if these tips don’t work, just know that it’s okay for your child to have a bad teacher. I don’t mean an abusive teacher but just one that doesn’t quite have a handle on their job. What’s more important for your child’s success and happiness is your parenting. That’s a great place to focus!
ADHD Family Coach, Margit Crane Luria, M.A., M.S., M.Ed., is the author of the Mom’s Choice Award®-Winning book How To Train Your Parents in 6 ½ Days, for tweens & teens; A Year of Good-Enough Parenting & Taking the CRAZY Out of Your Family Celebrations for moms & dads; and Getting Schooled for parents and teachers of ADHD children. Margit is the creator of “The Behavior Blueprint” the 7-Step Program to Eliminate Family Power Struggles. A former teacher & school counselor for 30 years, Ms. Luria has been featured in Seattle’s Child & Parent Map magazines, and on Chat With Women Radio, Blog Talk Radio, KOMO & KIRO News Radio, and the Sirius XM show, Just Jenny. She was diagnosed with ADHD in 1980.