Why this parent advice topic:
Making enemies at school defeats everyone. What follows is a guest blog by Jean Tracy, MSS.
SCHOOL SUCCESS ~ 3 Top Ways to Partner with Your Child’s Teacher
Your child’s teacher is an important partner in raising your child. Having been a teacher, a counselor, and a parent, here are some tips for partnering with your child’s teacher. They’ll promote your child’s success and help his teacher too.
1. Be Respectful to Your Child’s Teacher When You Have a Concern:
I remember a father who waited for me in the teachers’ lounge. I looked forward to seeing him because I had nothing but good things to say about his son. Before I could speak, the father said, “You’re not doing enough for my son.” I was stunned. He went on to say,
Why didn’t he get all A’s? The fact that he had a few B’s means you’re not giving him the attention he needs.
This well dressed professional man spoke with such arrogance and disgust. I cringed a bit and felt defensive.
When I recovered and with the most respectful voice I could muster, I said, “Your son was the star of our 3rd grade school play. He was terrific. Parents, grandparents, and relatives filled the auditorium. Why weren’t you and your wife there?” He backed down a bit. I also made suggestions on how he could enrich his son at home. The bell rang for class and with relief, we parted.
If you don’t think your child’s teacher is doing enough for him, don’t attack. Find out how you can enrich his learning at home. His teacher will be pleased by your willingness to partner in his education.
2. Volunteer to Help in Your Child’s Classroom:
What could you do? You could plan class parties, listen to kids read, design a holiday bulletin board, and help with arts and crafts.
Each is an opportunity for your child’s teacher to know more about your child by knowing you. Your child will be delighted and realize how important school is to you. He may try harder too.
If you can’t spend much time at school, perhaps you could pick up test papers and correct them. Ask his teacher how you can help. The time you give is a wonderful way to partner with your child’s teacher. It gives the teacher time to focus on kids who need extra help too.
3. Actively Participate in the Parent Teacher Conferences:
Every day after my first graders went home; I made sure to hang their papers on the bulletin boards that spread across the room. I knew it was important for them to search for their school work the next morning. They’d find it and tell their friends, “Look, there’s my picture!” I enjoyed seeing them smile.
To be a first grade teacher takes lots of time, work and energy. I didn’t examine each child’s paper before I posted it. One day when I met with a mom at our parent child conference. We walked to the bulletin board to view her daughter’s art work.
The mother said, “Isn’t that interesting?” Her daughter had drawn 2 houses. One was the daughter and her mom outside the first house. Outside the other house she stood with her dad. Her mother confided, “She’s expressing what she’s feeling about our upcoming divorce.” I looked again and saw the sad expression on her daughter’s face as she stood by each parent in her picture. I had no idea that her parents were divorcing. From then on I gave her child more positive attention.
At the school conference you have the opportunity to share significant things in your child’s life with her teacher. At that moment, you and her teacher can make a plan to help your child.
Conclusion for Your Child’s School Success:
When you have a concern about your child, approach his teacher with respect. Ask questions. Find out what you need to know. Avoid accusing. Help out in the classroom. Make sure you attend parent teacher conferences. Becoming a partner supports your child’s success and his teacher too. Everybody wins.
MY THOUGHTS AND TIPS FOR GETTING ALONG AT SCHOOL
First Parenting Tip: Thank You, Jean and here’s my first tip. Visit her web page and follow her. Jean has both a teacher’s degree and a Masters in Social Work. She taught for years, has worked as a social worker in the court system. She authors a website, blog, and newsletter. As the author of specialty kits for parents and kids, marriage and family e-books, free online courses, Jean reaches a worldwide audience to help parents build a strong healthy character in kids. To learn more go to her newsletter at Kids Discuss or her Parenting Skills blog. I am honored she agreed to do this guest blog.
Second Parenting Tip: When a child is not getting along in school several things might be going on. As discussed in Round Peg in a Square Hole, the problem might be a goodness of fit. Follow the tips I gave there.
Third Parenting Tip: Learning disabilities might be operating. Educate yourself about these. Start with the National Center for Learning Disabilities web page.
Fourth Parenting Tip: Ask the school to evaluate your child for learning style and the possiblity he is struggling with a learning disability. Many schools offer such evaluations. If your school doesn’t, seek one from your local mental health agency or a private psychologist.
Fifth Parenting Tip: Take a friend with you to any formal meetings with the school. Agree that if things get heated, the friend should comment that things are getting heated, but she sees that everyone wants what is best for the child. The purpose is to clue you to calm down. So take a calming breath and agree with your friend and be quiet. If you cannot stay calm, suggest you need time to think about what is being said, and ask for another meeting in a week.
At some point, you may need to take an advocate or a lawyer, but as Jean points out, the more positive your relationship with your child’s school, the better for all involved.
Sixth Parenting Tip: Watch for the publication of my E-book How to Hold a Family Meeting, it will soon to be available on Amazon. Family Meetings strengthen families in many ways. One way is by preparing all family members for other types meetings.
Seventh Parenting Tip: Strengthen you ability to handle negative feelings. My Parents Are People Too details an emotional fitness program for parents. It is available at Amazon.com. You will find lots of free tips about staying emotionally healty at my other blog Emotional Fitness Training. Here is one of the quick tricks offered there:
Take a deep breathe in, hold it for a few seconds while you think about what really matters, then breathe out slowly, smile gently and say “Ahhhhh.” Take another breathe in, hold it while you think about all you have to be grateful for, breathe out slowly, smile gently, and say “Thank you.”
Life is a struggle, full of pain and suffering. Parenting intensifies the struggle, but also brings more joy to your life.
Disclaimer one: Advice is just advice.
Even the most learned researchers and theorists quarrel about much. Take their advice and mine carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors
Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability that is akin to dyslexia when one writes. It was the reason my high school English teacher thought I would fail out of college. I didn’t. Moreover, with the help of some patient and good editors I became an author. Still mistakes get by. When I am in a rush, posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.
Sigh, if you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow me. If you want to hang in with me, thank you; if a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, try reading it a few days later. Often I catch the worse mistakes when I read the post after a few days.
Meanwhile, forgive me, it is an Emotional Fitness Training exercise.