Regular open and honest communication with your child’s teachers is definitely the best policy
As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your child. When it comes to academics, you know for a fact that your child is a genius. Your child is not only a genius, but they also learn in their own unique manner. This may include not paying attention in class (because they already know everything and are bored), not doing homework (because it is simply a waste of their valuable time since they already know everything), or sometimes not even showing up for class (see above).
Therefore, it may come as somewhat of a shock to you as a parent when your child’s grades don’t reflect how you see your child or when you get a note from the teacher expressing concerns over what’s going on with your child at school. You’ve asked your darling child and have been assured, again and again, that that teacher is an absolute ogre with no hope of redemption.
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So, what do you do?
The answer is simple, although not always easy. Regular open and honest communication with your child’s teachers is definitely the best policy.
While not every teacher your child will have over the years will be wonderful (in fact, some may be perceived as downright awful), the best way to help your child is by connecting with those teachers and treating them with respect. After all, they didn’t go into this career for fame and fortune. They’re trying to do their best for your child.
When there are problems in the classroom, the first thing to remember is to not go into a meeting with your child’s teacher in ‘attack’ mode. Righteous anger and finger-pointing will not go very far in solving any problems. Instead, presenting a collaborative approach of ‘let’s work together’ is a solid first step on the path to resolution.
Ask questions. Come prepared with a list of items for discussion so you can clarify the issues and find out exactly what concerns the teacher has. It’s always better to get the facts rather than make assumptions.
Listen to what the teacher has to say, and don’t interrupt every 10 seconds with excuses to explain away your child’s behaviour or issues. You may not like what you hear and may not agree with everything the teacher has to say, but by listening, you can at least begin to understand the teacher’s perspective and get a sense of what is happening.
Even if you feel frustrated, don’t get into personality conflicts, start laying blame or telling the teacher how to do their job. Focus on your child and their challenges. By working together, you can hopefully find potential resolutions.
Be open to letting the teacher know of mitigating circumstances that may negatively affect your child’s behaviour (e.g., medical problems, a family crisis).
And even when you have come up with solutions, consider volunteering in your child’s class or school. This might be just what you need to better understand not only your child and teacher but your child’s educational experience as a whole.
While this column deals with the relationship with your child’s teacher, these recommendations apply equally well to your relationship with your child. Respect and open and honest communication will go a long way toward solving problems and resolving conflict.
Faith Wood is a professional speaker, author, and certified professional behaviour analyst. Prior to her speaking and writing career, she served in law enforcement, which gives her a unique perspective on human behaviour and motivations. Faith is also known for her work as a novelist, with a focus on thrillers and suspense. Her background in law enforcement and understanding of human behaviour often play a significant role in her writing.
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