1. We don’t blame you. We know that you’re sending the best child you can to school each day. We also know that your child is growing up and that doesn’t happen without some frustrating experiences. Sometimes those moments are at home with you and sometimes they’re at school with us. Either way, we’re in this together.
2. We’re not perfect either. In the same way that we parents are fully aware of our imperfections, teachers will make mistakes too. Approaching a teacher with curiosity or empathy can go a long way to create a strong partnership. This means that instead of leading with accusation, a start of thanks (I’ve appreciated the newsletters you’ve been sending home), empathy (I know this is a busy time of year) or curiosity (The project my child has been working on is really interesting. Can I pick your brain about it?) will open lines of communication.
3. We all want the same outcome. Regardless of who starts the communication, we all want the same outcome: to see our students and children love school and be prepared for the world. I often tell people that my job as a parent is to help my son Evan “become the very best Evan he can be.” This sometimes means tough choices, but we’re always thinking about what we want kids to learn from any situation and reacting with that end in mind.
Even when we know all of these traits of effective parent-teacher partnerships, it can only take the knee-jerk reaction of an email with an unintended tone to undermine a productive conversation. So, to help frame those moments when they arise, I thought I would offer three ways to start an email conversation when the topic may need to do more than scratch the surface.
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