Constructively work out school problems, part 2The school experience. It is obviously an important one for your child and affects all aspects of a child’s life, including health. We hear a lot about the school experience at Eugene Pediatrics.

Part 1 of this two-part blog series reviewed steps to take before meeting with teachers or school officials when you have concerns.

Here you’ll find tips on preparing for the meeting and handling it to encourage the best outcomes possible.

  1. Start with the teacher, not the principal. If your input about your child’s education is needed, start the conversation with your child’s teacher. Don’t go straight to the school or district administration unless it’s an extraordinary situation. If you feel for some reason that the principal needs to be involved at the outset, when sharing your concern with the teacher, let the teacher and principal know ahead of time that you’d like to meet with the both of them.
  2. Write your concerns down. Prepare your list of concerns ahead of time by writing them out. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting emotional.
  3. Bring supporting documents. Bring tests, homework samples or whatever other documents you have to help kick-start the conversation.
  4. Ask and listen. Before you dive deeply into your concerns, ask teachers for their input and listen closely. It happens quite often that the entire issue is one of a simple miscommunication between teacher and student and can be fixed easily.
  5. Try to leave the meeting with an action plan — and a handshake or hug. Try to agree on steps both the teacher and child can take to improve the problems. Leave the meeting with good feelings so that everyone wins.
  6. Request additional help. If questions arise regarding your child’s ability to do the schoolwork, ask for a meeting with the school psychologist to talk about formal testing. This is a key step in developing an appropriate Individualized Education Plan for your child.
  7. Close the loop with your child. After meeting with the teacher, tell your child what happened in an age-appropriate way. Focus on the good outcome you and the teacher reached. Tell your child what steps you and the teacher feel they can take to help things improve.
  8. Conduct weekly check-ins. Check in weekly with your child and the teacher until you are convinced the issue is resolved.

Everyone — you, your child, the teachers and your pediatricians — wants the same thing, for your child to be happy and successful at school. Constructive steps focused on a collaborative approach enable you to support your child as best as possible throughout the school experience.

Please talk to you providers at Eugene Pediatrics if you need help regarding school issues and your child.