Tuesday, March 15, 2011


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Parents often find it alarmingly difficult to make contact with teachers. Many are amazed to
discover that telephone messages they leave at the school go unanswered, and often assume (not unreasonably!) that the teacher is simply ignoring their requests. Not surprisingly, parental anger at this state of affairs tends to grow by the day.

Of course, from the teacher’s perspective, things look quite different. While a phone call may be the most convenient way for a working parent to communicate, school offices are almost perfect environments for mis-communication, and parental messages are often lost, misfiled or even absconded with deliberately. The likelihood of lost or inaccurate communication is very high.

If you are fortunate enough to have a teacher's e-mail address, take full advantage of it. If not, the best way to get important information to your child’s teacher is a written message, delivered by your child in a sealed envelope. Written notes are generally well thought out and detailed (unlike the typical phone message). Teachers can read them carefully and respond to them thoughtfully at calm moments.

Always be clear about the nature of the response you hope to receive and the urgency you feel about receiving it. If you prefer to be reached in a particular way – cell phone, work phone, written mail or personal meeting – specify that as well.

How long should you wait to send a second request? Two to three days should be sufficient time for a response.

Most teachers, like most workers, want to do their jobs well and that includes working with
parents to make a student's job easier. It is in everyone's best interests to maintain good
communications skills and by doing so you set a superb example for your child.

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