Busy, busy, busy! That’s the theme of most days for Learning Coaches. There are materials to organize, emails and kmails to write and respond to, your child’s lessons and schedule to oversee and meetings to attend. Amid the chaos, it is crucial to carve out time to connect with your teacher. Even when you think you don’t have the time, it’s important to make it a priority because it will save you time in the long run. Research has shown families who excel in their virtual education program have a very strong connection with their teacher. Here are five tips for how to make that happen:
- Write a “Brag Letter.” Recently, nearly 100 K12 teachers were asked the question, “Would you like to know about students’ hobbies, interests, home life and work habits?” The answer was a unanimous “YES!” Consider taking a few minutes to share with your teacher what you are most proud of about your student, and how he or she likes to spend their time. You might find that you and your teacher have something extra special in common, or you might have the opportunity to teach your teacher something new. Teachers are life-long learners and if there is a new sport, or a new trend that your student is a part of, your teacher wants to know about it!
- Attend Online Classes and or Orientations. Your student will have Class Connect session led by your teacher, designed to teach a new important concept, or help review a skill that a student needs to work on. Teachers want you to attend a Class Connect session with your student. During this time, you can learn firsthand what type of participation your teacher is looking for and if your student is making a positive contribution to the session. Your teacher may also host an informational meeting or an orientation session.Attending meetings at which teachers provide information to all of his or her Learning Coaches helps prevent them from having to address all of you individually.
- Take advantage of Scheduled Phone Time and Kmail. Teachers want you to know that they have dedicated hours set aside in their schedule to conference with Learning Coaches about students. Get a copy of that schedule and find out when he or she is available for a conference. This is a great opportunity. Come prepared and make the most of your time.. Take full advantage of Kmail. There will be times when your teacher is tied up in a teacher training meeting or delivering a Class Connect session and unavailable for a phone call. He or she may be able to access kmail more quickly and easily. Chances are you’ll get a reply back very soon.
- Outings. Throughout the year, your school will host events and activities that may provide you with an opportunity to connect with your teacher in person. Be sure to ask for a list of school happenings and ask your teacher which ones he or she will be attending. Make a plan to meet face to face!
- First Point of Contact. If you have questions, your teacher is your first point of contact. Send your teacher a kmail and ask about anything and everything. Remember, your teacher is there for you and your student. You are all part of a team. Additionally, make sure to ask your teacher about the entire team who is working on behalf of your student, such as a reading specialist or an IEP teacher, for example. Make sure to get connected to those team members as well.
Chances are your teacher has worked with hundreds of Learning Coaches over the years, and has already answered or solved the question or problem that you have for somebody else! Don’t hesitate, reach out and get to know your teacher. The relationship will go far in helping your student succeed this year.