How to Collaborate with Teachers When You are Divorcing
So much has gone on in your life since your divorce process began, and there just isn’t a single corner of it that hasn’t been turned upside down. For your child, multiply this by a hundred. You have always been there for your child where school is concerned, and you will be now as well. Maybe more so! Knowing how to collaborate with teachers when you are divorcing will help you help your child as you work through this challenging time and find stability and happiness again.
Collaboration, Not Conflict
It goes without saying that two people who get along will likely be able to resolve differences more quickly and with less frustration than those who don’t. Certainly, you and your spouse have your differences. Choose to set them aside for the sake of your child and do as much as you can to make their transition into their new situation smoother and keep their school life saner. Attempt to come to some basic terms with your spouse so that your child’s teacher understands how to communicate with both of you and when. Holding information from your spouse or choosing to make it difficult for your spouse to participate in these conversations isn’t going to do you or your child any good. And, it will also frustrate the teacher who is trying to be helpful.
However, there are times when it will seem impossible for you and your spouse to agree. We understand that. Sometimes your principles are at risk of being compromised, and that can make you frustrated, angry, afraid and resentful. When that happens, contact your trusted lawyer here at Findling Law. We will listen to you and help you get through this. Sometimes, that may take a conversation. Other times, it may take a more formal approach and need to be resolved in court.
Your child and his or her schooling is a very important matter. Our goal is to do what it takes to make you comfortable, without you compromising your principles.
Teachers Are On Your Side
Rarely is there a teacher who is not dedicated to a child’s growth and progress. Share with him or her your family’s situation: that you are in the process of divorce, as well as where or with whom the child is living, and how to reach both parents by phone and email. Recognize that teachers are not only supportive, but cooperative, and they want your child to get through this and be successful in the long-term.
Know What’s Important to You
Everyone has differing opinions on just about every topic in the universe. Same goes for parents’ opinions about schooling. It may matter differently to you than it does to your spouse. Try to come up with some things you agree on, such as ground rules, like an evening routine for school nights regardless of who has the child, a homework reminder system that travels to both homes with the child, or when homework is to completed and who will check it. Click here to read about some great routines to set that might work for you.
Agreeing on something is a great starting point. Some amount of give and take is going to be involved for both of you. That’s okay. Give your spouse some slack on an issue that matters to him or her so there is a better chance you won’t face opposition on the issues that matter more to you. When in doubt, give us a call. We’ll listen to you and talk to you about what options you have.
Learn, Learn, Learn
The U.S. Department of Education stresses that it is incumbent upon parents to learn everything they can about the school their children attend. Meet the principal. Visit the office, library, school grounds and classroom. Meet the teacher. Ask if there is a student handbook. If there is one, make sure your child has one and that you both have read it thoroughly. Know what the school expects of your child and help your child be aware of those expectations. Know the school’s website and access it regularly – not just for the cafeteria menu, but for calendar updates and additional news from the school or district’s administration. Attend every school event you can – from PTO meetings to intramural soccer games to fun fairs. Don’t overdo it: You are already very busy trying to re-adjust and make smart decisions for your future. However, your future includes your child and his or her success.
What to Talk to the Teacher About?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when meeting with your child’s teacher:
- Go in ready to talk AND ready to listen. Have a two-way conversation. Or a three-way conversation, as the case may be.
- Bring your notes so you are sure to address the matters that are important to you!
- Be sure to address your child’s passions and talents, not just her weaknesses.
- Request examples and details until you understand the situation as well as possible.
- Ask questions and take notes!
- Keep an open mind! It’s easy to feel defensive or panicked if you are hearing something that doesn’t please you.
- This is often a problem-solving event, so be ready to brainstorm. If any special help is required, find out very specifically what that should be.
- Find out how you can help or provide support from home.
- Devise a strategy together on how to manage or overcome the issue(s).
- Decide when you will meet or otherwise connect again to review the progress and plan for the future, if needed.
Focus on What Matters: Your Child
You have something to bring to the parent-child relationship, just as your spouse does. Work towards a civil relationship with your child’s teacher in the spirit of co-operation and improving things for that very special kid who needs you now more than ever. You, your spouse, the teacher are all working together towards one very important goal: your child’s success at school and in life. As always, we here at Findling Law are here for you. Contact us anytime with your Michigan child custody or Michigan divorce questions.
About Findling Law:
I have been in practice for almost 20 years and practice exclusively in divorce and family law. My practice includes several attorneys who share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their life, without compromising principles. We have extensive experience in high socio-economic, high profile and high conflict cases which has nurtured a skill set applicable to all divorce and family law cases regardless of socio-economic status. We recognize that it is the application of the law that is most important aspect of practice. That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm.
We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you . . .
Local: +1 (248) 399-3300 – toll free: (877-YOUR FIRM)
After hours emergency?: +1 (707) 968-7347
Or email me at: Daniel@Findlinglaw.com
By: Daniel Findling