As a parent, it is often hard to have the degree of contact and the type of relationship that one may wish to enhance your child’s potential in any given class.
Equally, as a teacher, it is frequently difficult to have the opportunity and the level of engagement with a parent to make a difference to a student in a way that is meaningful and timely.
On both sides of the school fence we can each plead that we do not have time. Time to do what perhaps should be done – and that is to have conversations that are opportune and long enough to discuss the real issues.
Time. This is the lament of both teachers and parents. Therefore, it is the responsibility of both parties. We can always make excuses but being proactive pays great dividends.
My extensive work in schools with teachers reveals that they would dearly love more contact with the parents of their students. Often the parents they do see are often not the parents with whom they really want contact. The parents of children who need extra work or attention are not always readily available. Of course, the opposite is true where parents of those in great need of support through to the average student as well as the gifted student make themselves highly available for dialogue.
As a former teacher, and now parent coach and student tutor, I see every side.
What is crystal clear is that EVERY child has a history and there is ALWAYS something to learn from a parent-teacher consultation that is worthwhile.
Even though time is of the essence, here are some tips to help make sure your child is seen and well catered for in any classroom.
Remember that emails are fraught with the potential for misinterpretation. We need to always be mindful that it is the reader puts the tone and meaning into a word or sentence.
Meaning lies with the reader – not the sender.
As a matter of principle, I will always speak with a parent directly. I want to eliminate misconception and risk an escalation of any issue.
It is always worth the effort to visit the teacher in person, whenever possible. The time spent in direct conversation will usually outweigh the extra time it takes to write an email and the two of you are able to deal with the issue immediately or otherwise by being able to read each other’s intent more clearly.
I invite both parents to a consultation. It is important for me to have a relationship with both parents and to see how we each can contribute to the environment of the child. As a parent coach and learning specialist, my consultations take the form of 1.5 hours. I have learnt over many years that there is much to learn about a home situation and the history of the child that is valuable to learn and discuss so that meaningful strategies can be designed with an implementation plan and follow-up. That takes time.
My parents value the extra time I offer in this context so the whole family may benefit.
If there is a behavioural or sensitive issue to be discussed here is what I would suggest :
One of the most valuable things you can do as a parent is to have direct contact with each of your child’s teachers early in the year. They will appreciate you have made the time and an early establishment of a relationship may well reap the benefits of a memorable year and advancement in learning for your child.
You are always welcome to contact me.