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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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How To Build A Productive Relationship With Your Child's Teacher

Concerned about the lack of progress in the working relationship between you your child's teachers? There's a lot at stake in your contact with the special education department at your child's school such as:

  • Daily rapport with the teachers and paraprofessionals
  • Progress in IEP planning and execution
  • Receptiveness to advocacy and accessibility of services

Here are some ways to create positive relationships with your child's teachers that encourage cooperation.

Develop A Communication System

Proactively make a plan with your child's teacher at the beginning of the school year about how your daily communication will work. Will you email each other or will a note get sent home with your child? The expectation for consistent communication sets the tone that working in partnership is expected.

Read Up On Rules And Regulations

Become an expert on school and district policies that affect your child as well as ones that will apply when he or she is older. That way, you can better advocate for your child in a variety of instances, from IEP meetings to home visits.

Keep The Big Picture In Focus

Talk about the future significance of the current educational approaches and therapies used with your child. The relevance of certain teaching methods may come into focus when you look at it in the long run. The more that teachers hear about your observations at home, they will know what classroom practices make a positive impact on your child's development.

Constant Challenges

It takes effort on both sides of any relationship to make it positive.  Often, the rule of the day in teacher-parent interactions are communications based on fear, anger and anxiety on both the parents' and teachers' sides. A teacher's first concern may be about his or her overall classroom test scores, and a parent's top worry may be if her child will grow up to be an independent adult.

Often, the setup of the educational system does not facilitate both parents and teachers coming from the same place when it comes to priorities for their special needs students. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts at communication, negative actions by the school or district result in a breakdown of compliance and implementation of needed services. In these cases, it can be helpful to consult with legal resources that specialize in special education advocacy.

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