Dealing with Your Child's Teacher
In our last poll, "Dealing with Your Child's Teacher", we took a look at one of the most difficult situations for a parent to weather: the parent-teacher conference that does not go as planned. Instead of hearing about all the stellar achievements your child has accomplished during the school year, you are receiving news that you do not want to hear or may not have been anticipating. Maybe your child has been acting up in class, or maybe the homework is less than acceptable in the teacher's eye. How do you react?
While very obviously one size does not fit all forms of school related issues, you have voted:
1. 10 percent of you have stated that you will disregard the teacher's opinions since you know your child best.
2. 60 percent stated that you will agree to disagree with the teacher, but hear her or him out and see what you can glean from these insights.
3. 20 percent indicated that you will go home and get junior to shape up.
4. 10 percent just weren't all that sure.
Here are some tips on getting the most out of a parent-teacher conference with a minimum of aggravation.
- Understand that the teacher worked long and hard to get where she or he is. She or he has spent considerable time and effort getting a degree and certification that permits her or him to be teaching in the first place, and the last thing the teacher will want to do is to alienate a parent. For this reason, it is in your best interest to listen attentively to a professional as s/he gives you a valuable opinion.
- Realize that children act differently in situations where mom and dad are not around to watch them. When not under your watchful eyes, it is entirely possible that junior is trying to be the class clown, talking when s/he shouldn't, and throwing paper airplanes when it is not appropriate to do so.
- Become involved in your child's education. Volunteer to help out in the class; drop by and sit in for half an hour; schedule additional conferences with the teacher; seek parenting advice from your teacher; ask for help from others as well. In short, take an active role in your child's education, rather than a passive role that only sees you in action during parent-teacher conferences.
- Last but not least, work together with your child to see what s/he can do differently in class. Help your child to understand issues the teacher brings up, and role play different ways of mastering these issues. For example, if your child is easily led astray by a talking classmate during class-time, help her or him find ways of discouraging that classmate from talking and distracting at these times. This might include your child putting a finger to her or his lips to indicate silence, while turning away from the classmate. If you role-play at home, your child will be more comfortable acting on your advice in class!
About Sylvia Cochran
Welcome to the world of a poet and freelance writer who juggles a family, work, and a hundred commitments. Born and raised in Germany, and since 1988 living in the United States, this writer offers a global perspective on parenting issues, everyday living situations, time management, ethics, marriage, and personal growth. She publishes her work at Families Online Magazine, and Bella Online. Contact her with questions and comments at [email protected] and be sure to put ýFamilies Onlineţ into the reference line.