Private school teachers are generally dedicated individuals who accept lower pay than their public school counterparts because they are committed to the mission of private schools and the way they teach. Private school teachers also tend to get to know their students very well, as private schools are generally small, and their student ratio is about 15 students:1 teacher, or even 9 students: 1 teacher in some students. These schools tend to provide a great deal of feedback and commentary about their students, not simply number or letter grades, on report cards, meaning that teachers need to get to know their students very well in addition to this. The culture of many small private schools can feel familial and close, and you may get to know your children’s teachers well. Still, you want to show them that you respect them and that you understand they are committed professionals trying to do the best they can. Here are some guidelines about how to best communicate with your child’s teachers, even in difficult situations. Often it can be tempting to call your child’s teachers often, and, in a heated moment or a moment of worry, you may want to reach them immediately.

How parents can best work with private school teachers

Understand that your child’s teachers are usually in the classroom, and they may not be able to get back to you for a while, however. The best time to call might be after class lets out for the day. Teaching isn’t like an office job, as the teachers are always tied up with students. Be sure to find out when and how the teacher prefers to be contacted, and respect her preferences. Always thank the teacher for her time, and be cognizant of not taking up too much time. Avoid the temptation to go above her head without speaking to her first in case you have a problem or concern with your teacher. she may feel resentful in case she finds out about a problem from a supervisor. Instead, first try to work out the problem with the teacher, and only resort to speaking to a department chair, dean, or advisor if you can’t work out the problem with the teacher directly. It will help you get off on the right foot if you get acquainted with the teacher by giving of your time. Sign up for volunteer opportunities such as chaperoning field trips or hosting benefits at the beginning of the year. You will be able to give back to your school and get to know the teacher outside of the classroom. That way you will already have a basis for trust, and the relationship you have with the teacher may facilitate the process of working out your concern in an amiable way in case you do have a concern at some point during the year. Write down any questions you might have about his or her progress before you attend the conference. If there are any concerns, be sure to get your child’s take on what’s happening and to explain why he or she might be struggling.