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Introducing Your Child to the Teacher: How Honest Should You Be? (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 18, 2008

During the registration process, most schools ask parents to fill out a card that includes information about who should be contacted in the case of an emergency, in addition to important health information. But just because it’s on the Emergency Card doesn’t mean that the teacher is aware of it. Wolf suggests writing a letter to the teacher about your child’s health or emotional needs, and giving a copy to the front office staff. Any pre-determined conditions or diagnoses, such as ADD, ADHD, or speech delays should also be reported in writing to your educational institution before the start of the school year.

3. Keep Up Communication! Whether about your child’s cranky morning routine, or about her growing distain for her new brother, your teacher should be kept in the know. “Communication with your child’s teacher about any special needs he may have will not only help her to teach your child more effectively, but it can also be a perfect opportunity for parents to express their expectations,” says Wolf. Just be respectful of the teacher's time. Don't start an impromptu heart-to-heart while the teacher's trying to get the kids wrangled for storytime. Instead, drop off a note asking the teacher to call you during a less busy time. Or feel free to carry on communication through the note itself. Limit yourself to information that directly affects your child's needs. A teacher doesn't really have to know your child's dinner preferences, but she'd be thankful to have information like the fact that your kindergartener didn't attend preschool, so she can provide support in helping that child succeed socially in class.

Still worried about telling too much? There are some circumstances when teachers don’t necessarily need every detail. For example, phases of negative behavior that have more or less been resolved aren’t pertinent for your teacher to know. According to Caryl Oris, M.D., “If there are behavioral issues with a young child at home, these may not show up in the classroom. Therefore it would be best to see how things play out before having a discussion with the teacher.”

How your child interacts with other adults may be very different from the way she acts with you. In this way, over telling can be a strain on the natural development of the relationship between your child and her teachers. Oris says, “It is important to allow your child to develop new, independent relationships with adults at school, and to allow them to develop their own point of view about your child.”

The outstanding importance is that of parents and teachers working together to communicate. Each individual is a part of a team that shares a common goal: to educate each child thoroughly and gracefully.

The bottom line is this: The success of a teacher depends on her ability to teach your child. Her ability to teach your child depends on the connections she’s made with him. Connections are made when a teacher knows and understands the factors that make a child who he is.

So go ahead, gush away.

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