New School Year: Meet the Teacher

By Daniel Franklin, Ph.D.

Forging a strong relationship with your child’s teacher pays off in numerous ways • A new school year provides the opportunity to get that process going in the right direction • Start by using these tips to establish good communication once you know who your child’s teacher will be.

Some years your child will have a teacher who is a perfect match for his or her learning needs. Other years, the match might not be as good. As a parent, your job is to forge a positive working relationship with every teacher your child has. This encourages teachers and school administrators to recognize and accommodate your child’s unique learning needs; they’ll also come to view your child in the most positive light possible. This will improve your child’s self-esteem and interest in learning. Additionally, by building these working relationships in a professional manner, you’ll model professionalism for your child.

Initiate Communication

One way to do that is to schedule a meeting at the start of the school year or as soon as you learn who your child’s teacher will be.

The first meeting sets the groundwork for the entire school year. Let the teacher know your child loves learning but may need extra help. Tell the teacher that you will do all you can to provide whatever support he or she recommends.

If you are already working with school administrators, you can ask if they should be included in this meeting.

Talking Points

Include homework in your conversation. It is important to understand the teacher’s expectations for the coming year so that you can help complete assignments correctly. For example, some teachers only want to see that an attempt was made on an assignment while others expect proofread submissions.

You should also collaborate with your child’s teacher regarding a plan for when your child does not understand a concept or cannot complete an assignment.

Ask about the length of time the teacher expects students to spend on homework. Follow up by asking “What happens if my child frequently needs to spend a significantly longer amount of time on homework? Are there adjustments that can be made so that homework takes a similar amount of time as it does for the rest of the class? Can my child receive extensions?”

Finally, ask your child’s teacher how he or she prefers to communicate and when. It is also good to ask about a reasonable timeframe to receive a response. Respect the teacher’s boundaries, and don’t expect responses on weekends or in the evenings. A good approach is to ask, “When would it be okay for me to follow up?”

By seeking answers to these questions, you will be able to help your child have a successful start to the school year. 

This article is excerpted from Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities (Strategies to Succeed in School and Life with Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, ADHD, and Auditory Processing Disorder), by Daniel Franklin, PhD; published by New Harbinger Publications (2018). Available at Amazon through this link: Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities. Dr. Franklin is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and the founder of Franklin Educational Services. 

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