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Visiting with your
Child's Teacher

As reported in the February 21, 2005 issue of TIME magazine, ("What Teachers Hate About Parents"), educators were given a survey and asked what the best part of their career was. Most said it was the personal gratification they received from working with children.

When asked what was about the most challenging, they said it was working with the adults in their student's lives. It's not uncommon for today's teachers to report that they have been cursed at, and even threatened with bodily harm while meeting with parents. Education is critical to reduce the number of hostile relationships between the two groups.

"The value of healthy parent-teacher relations extends well beyond the classroom," commented Fran Briggs, President of the Fran Briggs Companies.

"Positive partnerships between parents and educators are imperative and promote the healthy academic, emotional and social growth of the student. Parent-teacher relationships that are on one accord must become a mandate if our children are to succeed in school and life," added Briggs, a former teacher and current Mental Health Resource Specialist.

"The need for safe, parent/teacher relations has never been more apparent. Many school districts are too fatigued, too busy or too subjective to create and then deliver a program that addresses this priority. Sadly, far more simply don't know where to start," commented Briggs.

Constructive, defined-outcome communication between parents, educators and administrators are critical to the student's overall success. The following list outlines steps that positively influence how parents can successfully -- and appropriately -- communicate with educators.

Tips for making Your Next Visit with Your Child's Teacher a Positive Experience

1. Prepare for the Meeting in Advance

Take the time to plan for the meeting in advance. Children exceed their expectations when they know that the adults in their lives are in unison about their success. Write down your child's strengths and make a commitment to join forces with the educator on as many issues as you can.

2. Be on Time

Make every effort to be punctual. Being late can make any meeting awkward. And, don't be too early. Your child's teacher may have appointments scheduled before, and after you.

3. You're a Professional, too!

Demonstrate your expertise. As a parent or guardian, you automatically qualify as an expert. When speaking with your child's teacher, demonstrate your own sense of self-respect.

You can use a calm voice tone and still speak with authority. Avoid ultimatums and coercive behavior at all costs.

4. Communicate with Compassion

Keep in mind that your child's teacher experiences many of the same stressors of every day life as you do. Share your values with your child's teacher. Don't assume the teacher knows. Educating him can give him the insight needed to understand your views.

5. Dress a Cut Above the Rest

Look sharp! Remember, if you are a parent or guardian; you are a professional. Dress accordingly. There is nothing wrong with "dressing up" for a meeting with your child's teacher.

You will never see a child wince with embarrassment because his mother was seen wearing a "power suit" to his school. The proper attire can help you move and speak with confidence.

The Fran Briggs Companies is an organization dedicated to the empowerment and personal development of schools, communities and corporations around the globe.

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