Three weeks in, we are seeing and hearing more and more from parents. In the midst of the morning drop off traffic, parents pass quick comments or ask check-in questions meant for the homeroom teacher as they shuffled teary-eyed youngsters into our hands. Others write long email messages, trying to supply a few more details about their children's learning hoping for smooth transition into new classes and teachers.
I can't help but wonder, what is the right amount of interaction between parents and teachers: not too much, not too little, but just right to provide the much-needed and valued communication between the two important parties to the equation?
Veteran special ed teacher Barbara Boroson, also a mother of an autistic child for the last 18 years, has the following observation, having been on both sides of the table for some difficult conversations. "Parents are the historical and holistic experts: their specialty is their own child. Meanwhile, the specialty of teachers and administrators is educating a classroom or school full of students. It takes both sides to form a powerful partnership."
So it seems that it's not the quantity – numbers of chats, emails or phone calls – but the quality of communication – and the attitude that goes with it – that makes or breaks the partnership.
- Appreciation: Each party holds critical and valuable pieces of the puzzle that deserves the other's deep listening.
- Trust: Remember that these little imperfect humans are, for the most part, doing their best. So are their parents. So are the teachers.
- A sense of humor: Now, this really makes or breaks our day. Tell me a good joke, and you will get 10% off of your next tuition bill! I hope this one makes your day!