From the Christian Parenting Corner
report card problems

All I Ever Needed To Know About Talking To My Child’s Teacher
I Learned From Proverbs

Christian Family

The school year is drawing to a close, and soon report cards will come home and parent-teacher conferences will be set up. What will you do if your child’s report card is less than stellar? Do you know how to talk to your child’s teacher?

Proverbs 10:1
“A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.”
As church-going parents we all wish to have a smart, spiritual child, whose school teachers sing her/his praises and whose friends look up to her/him. Many a parent sees a child’s academic growth as a direct reflection of the training that goes on within the home. While this is correct, to a certain point, it is noteworthy that children will at some point make their own decisions with respect to learning, studying, and putting in their best effort. In addition to the foregoing, if the church-going parent permits her/his self-worth to be thusly implicated by her/his child’s outward academic prowess, what happens when the teacher’s report is less than glowing?

Proverbs 10:17
“People who accept correction are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore it will lead others astray.”
Many a parent will see it as a personal affront to have the teacher confront her/him on the child’s perceived lack of obedience. The teacher’s admonition that the child is not memorizing the poem every child in class was supposed to remember and practice throughout the week may be greeted with protestations of “well, it was too long! Similarly, the revelation that the child is hitting other children may be countered with “well, what did the other child do that provoked her/him? If a church-going parent acts thusly, s/he is in effect refusing to accept correction and this very refusal will result in an ignorance that will bar her/him from leading her/his child in the proper ways, thus condemning the child to be led astray by the one person who has the God-given power to lead the family: the parent.

Proverbs 11:14 (see below)

“Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.”
Furthermore, should a parent choose to abdicate her/his leadership and because of personal pride, perceived injustices or simple laziness not pursue the admonitions of the teachers, s/he will set up the child for failure. If, however, the parent is able to see past the wounded pride, then not only is there hope on the horizon but there will also be change!

Proverbs 14:8
“The wise look ahead to see what is coming, but fools deceive themselves.”
Considering that we all want to be wise parents, here are some practical suggestions of how to use the school as a valuable resource for all its worth:

  • Build a relationship with your child’s teacher
    These individuals are most often underpaid, under-appreciated individuals who teach your child for the love of God, not for personal gain or recognition. For this reason it is fair to assume that they would gain nothing from giving you a false report on your child’s actions. So build a relationship with the individuals who teach your child. Write them cards to encourage them, when the school year ends, take them out to lunch as a little sign of appreciation. Call them with questions about how your child is doing in class.
  • Ask questions
    Very often teachers will become gun-shy after the first verbal altercation with a parent and may no longer volunteer information. Ask therefore how your child is doing in school. don’t let go after hearing your child is doing “great and did a “good job. Instead, ask what was “great about your child’s actions in class that particular day, and exactly what made the job s/he did “good .
  • Listen to answers
    We all want to hear the good reports. Listening to the not so good reports is much harder. Force yourself to listen to the teacher, without interruption, and repeat back what you think you heard. Then ask for advice on what the teacher thinks might work to help your child. Remember: your child is bound to act differently when you are away. Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Show your child that you take the report serious
      Do not argue with the teacher in front of your child, thus compromising the teacher’s authority. If you totally disagree with what the teacher shares with you, tell her/him you will pray about it and ask when you might call her/him to discuss this issue further. If you still disagree with the teacher after prayer and further explanations, visit the class and remain for a little while to see if there is any merit to the allegations. Have another person go into the class to observe your child. This, of course, requires the next and probably most important point…
    2. Take the reports you receive serious!
      Please remember that it is your responsibility to raise your child and train her/him to become a spiritual as well as a hard-working person. This is not the job of the teachers or the school in general. The parent is still responsible, and the school is only there to support the training the child is receiving at home. Do not let a valuable resource like the school go by the wayside!

Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia is a writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money.

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