<p>Pelicandad asked me to speak to this question on a different thread, but I hoped that some veteran parents could weigh in with their successes and new parents can add their questions. (it's my first thread!)</p>
<p>*@Albion: so..any thoughts on how a parent should best approach their kid's BS teachers? On the one hand, the whole point of BS is that my kid needs to learn to adapt to the expectations of adults who are NOT his parents; on the other, I've had a great dialogical relationship with a lot of DC's day school teachers. In the BS world, is it considered crazy or helicopter parenting to be in touch with your kid's teachers? I'm looking for the balance so the teacher knows his/her role is supported by the folks at home, without getting overbearing so that the teacher is always looking at my child but thinking, "Oh yeah, crazy spawn..." In earnest, here...I'd love to hear your perspective on what makes a "good" BS parent, for the child and the teachers/staff alike. *</p>
<p>@Pelicandad: Anyone who asks that question is already clearly an excellent parent. I don't start hearing the whirring of the helicopter blades until I'm being told how to do my job, usually accompanied by phrases like "Clearly, you should just..." or "Why don't you simply..."
To get my job at an elite boarding school I had to beat out 100 other strong applicants and be interviewed by 15 or more different school personnel, so the worst thing a parent can do is treat me like the Help, or like some none-too-bright sad-sack who couldn't get a "real" job. (Do you see how extreme you have to be to be a parent that teachers grumble about?) What you wrote in your post immediately put me at ease. If you lead with friendly enthusiasm, teachers will almost always respond in kind.</p>
<p>In boarding school, all questions and contact are typically funneled through your kid's Advisor, so you will need to start there. Don't be afraid to pro-actively email after the first two weeks with one specific question: "is s/he making friends on the dorm?" "How's the soccer team working out?" etc. Advisor now has to pay enough attention to answer that one quick question, and the relationship is off and running. I respond best to parents who are informal, friendly, and funny. Personally, I'm also happy to help in any long-standing parent missions along the lines of "eat more vegetables" or "extra vocab practice." I'm not a magical wand fairy, but I will cheerfully give it a go (and make it seem like I never heard it from you.) </p>
<p>I know that many parents worry that teachers will treat a kid differently because of how the parent treats the teacher. This phenomenon is something that my teacher friends and I always marvel at. The kid is a separate person. We don't have to love the parents to love the kid. I've had great relationships with kids whose parents who were extremely rude to me. </p>
<p>Caveat: I can only report what is true for me, and I do not know the extent to which my feelings are typical. I've taught at boarding and day schools for 14 years, for what that's worth.</p>