Meet with the teacher and staff early in the school year.
Consider meeting even before the school year starts, if possible. If your child has an IEP, give the teacher a copy of it. Share other information—such as hobbies, interests and important family events—that will help your teacher get to know your child.
Find out how the teacher wants to be reached.
Share email addresses and phone numbers.
Be respectful of the teacher’s time.
Arrive promptly for appointments and wrap things up within your allotted time. The teacher may have more parents and students waiting for her attention.
Look for something to compliment.
If you’re meeting in the classroom, look for word walls, reference charts or displays of students’ artwork or school work that you can compliment. Teachers like to see that you notice their efforts. If you’re meeting in the guidance office or other location, start things off with a positive statement such as something you’ve noticed about the teacher’s classroom or teaching style.
Never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child.
Demonstrating your respect for a teacher will set a good example for your child.
Show up for special events.
Whenever possible, show up for back-to-school night and other events. This demonstrates that you are part of the school community. Try to chaperone a field trip and volunteer in other ways too.
Say “thank you.”
Express appreciation for the big—and little—things the teacher does for your child. Cards, thank-you notes, even small gifts can go a long way toward building positive relationships with the teacher, school aides and other staff.
Spread the word.
Let others know when the teacher does something special for your child. A note of appreciation shared with the principal is a nice gesture.
Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today. She also writes the Asperger Ascent blog. Tucker is based in the Washington, DC, area.