To Tango with a Teacher

Starting off on the Right Foot with Your Child's Teacher

The sky and earth were crisp the first day of school that fall.  Although it was the perfect fall day for beginning another school year, tears filled my eyes as I watched the buses roll by; not because of the children I would have sent off that sunny morning, but because I wasn’t going myself. Although I am a certified teacher, my husband, David, and I decided that I would stay home full-time and care for our new child and home.  But as I watched the neighbor children board the bus, I grieved for the many students I would never reach in those classrooms. 

Now, years later, we count it a privilege to send our children to school and support those who serve them.  Before one school year ends, we have begun praying for the coming year—and we are not alone.  Parents worldwide take an active role in their children’s education through volunteer work, prayer, and personal support.  Over time we have developed a number of ways to reach into our children’s schools with God’s love.


Starting off on the right foot with your child’s teacher begins before the first official meeting.  Prior to meeting with any teacher, we make every effort to:

·         Pray:  Prayer focuses our hearts and minds on God, not our worries. We trust that He has placed each of our children in a specific classroom with a specific teacher for a specific purpose.

·         Adopt an attitude of service: Jesus’ attitude was one of a servant.  In contrast to His rights, He humbly extended love and compassion, doing what others could do, but often weren’t willing to. 

·         Be grateful: David and I appreciate the fact that each teacher spends a significant amount of time planning, preparing materials, and collecting resources for our child.  We count it a privilege to have access to someone that is qualified to meet our child’s age-appropriate needs and is willing to invest 40-50 hours a week for that purpose.

·         Prepare our children: The way we talk about school and teachers at home is reflected in our children’s attitude at school.  Also, making sure they receive adequate rest and nutrition communicates honor for the teacher’s time and effort.


We always look forward to the first meeting with our children’s teachers.  This is a priority and privilege that we want to experience with our children before the scheduled first day of classes.  If we are unable to attend an Open House, we make an appointment to visit at the teacher’s convenience.

Many teachers have spent the summer thinking about the coming year and how to be a more effective educator than they were the year before.  As parents, we want to express our interest in each teacher’s plans for the coming year.  At the same time, we want to make “straight paths” for our children by communicating their needs and our expectations.  Before leaving that first meeting we offer to be of assistance and give realistic limitations of our time and abilities.

Most importantly, we realize that our words should be seasoned with salt, making others thirsty for more of Christ (rather than leaving behind a bad taste).  With each interaction we are aware that our actions and attitudes prepare the way for future words of Life.  When and if appropriate, we tell the teacher that we pray for her regularly and ask if there are any specific things for which she would appreciate prayer.


After our initial meeting we commit to being faithful in prayer. When the opportunity arises, we follow up continued concerns and any additional requests. 

A couple of weeks into the school year, we contact our child’s teacher and repeat our offer, being very specific: i.e., “I’d like to help next Friday from 8:30-11:00 a.m.  Will that work for you?”

To gain a better awareness of what is happening in the classroom, we take the time for a daily “school report” from our children’s point of view.  Then, in our daily reports to our children, we strive to set an example of how we respond to authority in our lives (yes, even as parents!).  The New Testament states that we should obey our authorities so that their work is a joy, not a burden.  When we are supportive of the authorities in our lives, we cultivate a desire in our children to bring joy to their teachers and school staff.

One of the most difficult moves in the dance is to stop (often unexpectedly) with prayer concerning any offense before approaching the teacher.  In every case, we want to mentor our children through difficulty, supporting the school as much as possible.


Our years of working with the teaching staff have developed relationships that continue to this day.  After spending a year getting to know each one, our desire is that our lives would leave behind the aroma of Christ, the Rose of Sharon.  At one time I was that presence in the school system; now we have four representatives of our Lord in various buildings.  Will you make yourself available to be used, even as you meet your child’s teacher for the first time? As parents and families, we have the unique opportunity to pray for, minister to, and serve those God has put in our path, leaving this year’s partner(s) with the symbolic scent of a Rose.  You never know what God will do this year, because of this year, in the lives of those in your child’s school.

Practical ways to love your child’s teacher:

·         Find out when her birthday is. Send a greeting with her favorite homemade goodie.
·         Send a “progress report” at the end of each quarter stating what your child enjoyed most or how you have seen progress as a result of his teaching.
·         Take responsibility for being your child’s primary teacher—feed his interests, provide resources, spend time together as a family and take educational field trips: i.e. don’t dump on the teacher.
·         Invite her to attend your child’s Christmas program or a recital.
·         Personalize any small seasonal gift with a note of gratitude and appreciation.
·         Join or start a “Moms In Touch International” prayer group.  Their website can be found at
·         Schedule volunteer time at least once a quarter.
·         Be on time and prepared for appointments.
·         Accept criticism of your child graciously and ask how you can help.
·         When necessary, offer to make contacts with other teachers, specialists and agencies if it would save your child’s teacher precious time and effort.
·         Recognize the teacher as the teaching expert.  Be gracious in disagreement, speaking directly, gently, and privately.
·         Allow your child to suffer the natural consequences of misbehavior or negligence.
·         Be honest.  If you disagree with your child’s teacher, confront her with the problem, not other parents or her administrator.
·         Be timely in returning paperwork and settling financial accounts.

Things to talk about when you first meet your child’s teacher:

·         Which unit/subject do you enjoy teaching the most? 
·         What are your classroom rules?
·         How can we help?  (We give realistic limitations of our time and abilities.) 
·         How can we help our child at home in a way that is consistent with your objectives?
·         These are some areas we’ve been working on at home: _______, __________.  Do you have any insights or suggestions? 
·         These are the things that are important to us: _______, __________.
·         While our child is in your classroom, we expect him to be respectful of you and the other students.  We also expect him to follow the rules of the class.  If this is ever a problem, please contact us so we can visit with you and our child.
·         This is how to contact us:  ____________.
·         May we call in a week or so to set up a time to help in the classroom?

Being Involved at Secondary Levels of Education (grades 7-12):
-       Make yourself available to your child's homeroom teacher or advisor. They could use an extra hand every quarter recording data and/or keeping records.
-      Be involved in your child's extra-curricular life. If your child plays soccer, don't just attend the games, offer to set up or pick up equipment, transportation for students in need, provide water bottles and actively participate in the booster club (parents who provide money and incentives as a "boost" for extra activities--music, athletics, drama, etc.).
-      Once or twice a year make a big batch of baked goods and deliver it to the teacher's workroom with a note of thanks.
-      Know your own strengths, interests, areas of expertise and offer to help: agriculture, science, drama, music.
-      Continue to support the teaching/coaching staff, especially in front of your child and his/her friends. Your encouragement and respect behind the scenes will make a difference in your child's thoughts, actions and attitude.