8 Helpful Phrases to Use When Talking to Your Child’s Teacher

8 Helpful Phrases to Use When Talking to Your Child’s Teacher

Use these conversation starters to help make sure you’re both on the same page.

By Debbie Koenig

At some point, every child has a problem at school, whether academic or social. And when that happens, your relationship with your child’s teachers can make all the difference. If you approach them as partners rather than adversaries, you’re much more likely to resolve problems in a way that actually helps your child. Make it clear you value an educator’s expertise, and choose your words carefully — then listen to what she has to say. You may learn a new insight about your child! Read on to see how to phrase things effectively:

You want to say: How can you expect Jimmy to do all this homework in one afternoon?!
Instead, say: The workload seems to be really stressing Jimmy out. Are other kids having trouble, too?

You want to say: You can’t fail my child!
Instead, say: What can we do to help Jimmy bring up his grade?

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You want to say: I’m calling the principal.
Instead, say: We both want what’s best for Jimmy. How can we get on the same page?

You want to say: If Jimmy hit Johnny, Johnny must have started it!
Instead, say: We’ve raised Jimmy to know that hitting is never OK. Is it possible he was pushed too far and lost his cool?

You want to say: Jimmy says you didn’t give him a chance to explain.
Instead, say: Help me understand why Jimmy got in trouble.


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You want to say: Jimmy’s acting out because he’s bored.
Instead, say: I’ve noticed that at home, Jimmy misbehaves when he’s got too much time on his hands. Have you considered giving him more to do?

You want to say: This looks like an “A” paper to me.
Instead, say: What were the goals with this assignment? How could Jimmy have earned a higher grade?

You want to say: Fix this!
Instead, say: How can I help?

How do you approach conversations with your kids’ teachers?

Debbie Koenig writes about family and food, and is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. Find her at debbiekoenig.com.

Image ©iStock.com/michaeljung

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