Pick up almost any parenting magazine and you'll read that when parents are involved in their child's education; their child does better in school. So what are some tips and tricks to make sure you are appropriately involved and effectively communication with your child's classroom teacher and/or supports?
Start each new school with a positive presumption that the school, the teachers, and any/all of the supports that interact with your child has the best intentions towards your child. Remember no one goes into education with the intention of harming or otherwise interfering with a child's potential.
By being an active and better listener. Try and improve the communication you are having with people. Always be mindful of the forum that that conversation is happening (i.e. Email, text, phone, face-to-face). Sometimes we misconstrue meaning and tone when its written so don't jump to conclusions - ask for clarification. (i.e. I just don't understand what you are saying. Can you explain it in a different way or provide an example?)
Be open with you child's teacher - tell them about your child's strengths/weaknesses as a student; what do they like/dislike about school, what motivates your child when they are having difficulty. Don't paint an unrealistic or slanted description of your child. Tell them what your hopes are for your child as well as your fears. Early in the school year, establish regular avenues of communication - maybe its a weekly email, notes back and forth in your child's daily planner or whatever else is most convenient for you and the teacher. Be realistic with your expectations! Your child's teacher means well and will try their best but they have a lot of things to accomplish in a day.
If there is a disagreement - stay focused on the child, focus on positives/strengths, be clear about goals, listen, ask questions and clarify. Try to break the tension by asking How and What questions... how can we provide more supports so that she is not out of her Reading class daily? What are some of Jane's skills in reading that we we can build upon to strengthen her skills in....?
Acknowledge the effort of others. Negotiate. Be honest. Don't interrupt or talk over people. Talk with the people involved, not at them. Summarize your meeting (at the end of the meeting and follow up with an email that summarizes what you think was agreed to etc.)
Have questions or concerns about your student? Contact us to discuss further:
E.M. Curran & Associates LLC