At Eugene Pediatrics, often our work includes support for parents who are trying to assure a happy and successful experience for their children at school. Parents share with us problems that they or their kids are having at school.
Some of the complaints are well-founded. Like the partially deaf child seated in the middle of a class room who was reprimanded by her teacher in front of her peers for asking if subtitles were available on a video presentation; others seem overly sensitive or coming from partially informed parents looking to micromanage the classroom from a distance.
But whatever the concern, our strong belief is that parents need to work in a constructive way with their teachers and schools to find solutions for their kids’ problems. Everyone wants the same thing: happy young learners.
In Part 1 of this two-part blog, consider these steps toward addressing concerns about your child’s teacher, education or school issues. Part 2 will discuss how to prepare for meetings with teachers and school officials, if it becomes necessary.
- Tackle problems right away. Don’t let things simmer and worsen. Resolving concerns early helps your child and your school be their best.
- Get the child’s version. Ask your child in a non-emotional, non-judgmental way what’s been happening. Encourage him to be completely open and honest with you. Don’t give immediate feedback to your child about your plans for addressing his concerns. This is your time to listen to them.
- Gather data yourself. Check teacher websites if possible. Or look at the homework or test in question. Review your child’s daily work. Do first what it takes to help you understand better what’s happening at school.
- Talk to other parents. Choose ones you trust, whose children attend the same school. See if they have similar concerns. Do not try to recruit a lynch mob. That never leads to happy outcomes. Try instead just to gather information.
- Have them talk to their teacher. For kids fourth grade or older, have them talk to their teacher first. This is very important! Practicing conflict resolution is a huge life lesson and will benefit them in high school, college and beyond. Help your child practice what he or she will say ahead of time. Much of the time, having a child speak to the teacher will fix the problem.
Always remember to keep a positive, problem-solving attitude yourself in front of your child when discussing school issues. A negative attitude about a teacher or school sets up your child and the school to fail. Please talk to you providers at Eugene Pediatrics if you need help regarding school issues and your child.
And look for Part 2 of this blog next week!