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We d all like our children to develop positive relationships with their teachers. But is it also important that we have a good relationship with our kids teachers? Linda Morgan, editor of ParentMap and author of the book Beyond Smart shares more.

Why should parents get to know their kids teachers?

The big buzzword these days is collaboration. It s all about building a community of learning. The teacher is the leader, but the parent is also involved. These days, schools want parents in the picture. The days when parents simply shuttled their children to school, signed the report card, and exchanged pleasantries with the teacher at open house are long gone.

What s different now?

Educators know that kids learn better when their parents are engaged, involved and supportive. Parents should know what s going on in the classroom, be clued in on homework assignments and the expectations. And they should be encouraging their kids on the sidelines.

A positive parent-teacher relationship helps your child feel good about school and be successful in school. It demonstrates to your child that he can trust his teacher, because you do. This positive relationship makes a child feel like the important people in his life are working together.
How can parents help their kids teachers?

They can help them understand their child. Everything from how your child learns best to any struggles or challenges he may have. At conferences, discuss ways you can both support your child's learning. Ask how your child functions in the classroom as a person. Does he make friends? How does he resolve conflicts? Ask what you can do to help. When discussing a problem your child may have, ask your teacher for specific ways you can help at home. Ask him or her to define what your role should be in the problem-solving partnership.

What are some ways we can foster a positive relationship with our kids teachers?

Meet and greet. Do this early in the year, before problems surface. Let teachers know any concerns or special issues that affect your child. Has there been a recent divorce? A health problem? A recent move?

Ask questions. Are there some math games to help practice the new math facts? What is the best way to help your child practice spelling? Find out if your child s behavior is on the mark, if he follows the school rules, and if he has friends.

Volunteer. Find out ways you can support the class, the teacher and the school. Schools might be looking for volunteers to help kids with math or reading, or help supervise the class on a field trip. And your kids will love seeing you involved.

For more information on this and other topics. go to ParentMap.com.

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