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Talking to Your Child's Teacher


It is every mother’s hope that when our children walk out the door and head off to school, they will make good choices, please their teachers, and experience positive interactions with their peers. Sometimes, however, this is not the case and – either – we are required to contact the teacher to discuss an issue or the teacher contacts us and requests a meeting.

Our nerves may shatter. Our belief in the infinite goodness of our child may waver. Our humiliation and embarrassment may take precedent over our need to help resolve the situation in an effective manner.

Meetings with teachers may be nerve wracking, but if we enter with a positive attitude, the right intention, and an openness to hear what the teacher has to say – we will help our child overcome a bump as smoothly as possible.

Be a team player
No matter what the situation, enter with a positive attitude and a goal of working with the teacher to make school a successful experience for your child.

Set up a convenient time to meet
You both have busy schedules, and your need to meet may feel urgent – but you might have to compromise on a time that works for both of you. If you are a working parent, for example, and are going to be pushing the limit by trying to meet during your lunch hour – find a different time. Remember that a teacher’s time during the day is busy, and there is not a lot of open time in her schedule. She may have after-school responsibilities that make it a difficult time for her to meet, so you may have to consider meeting early in the morning before school.

Be open to suggestion
It is difficult to hear what we perceive as a critique of our child and his or her behavior. Listen to what her teacher has to say with an open mind. The teacher has likely seen children experiencing similar situations and may have some ideas on how to cope, manage, and overcome the circumstance.

Teacher is expert
Teachers observe our children, have worked with many children, and have other professionals in their support network. Even if what she has to say to us is difficult to hear, it’s important to listen and to trust. If you’re experiencing a problem with a particular teacher, request the mediation of the principal or school social worker. Remember, the ultimate goal is to help your child experience success.

You know your child
The bottom line is that no one knows your child better than you. You have the capability to offer the teacher insight into your child’s behavior, struggles, and even his strengths. Be open and up front with your child’s teacher about your child’s home life. This can only help the teacher help your child in the classroom.

Our hearts often pound a bit harder when we see the teacher’s number pop up on our caller ID. When we are invited into school for a conversation, we may feel reactive, defensive, or even angry with our child. It is important to remember that teachers are on our side. Most of them have chosen this profession – not to make oodles of money – but because they care about children. What we both ultimately want is for our children to have positive school experiences, enjoy coming to school, and to look forward to learning.
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Five Tips for a Great Parent-Teacher Conference
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lisa Polovin Pinkus. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Polovin Pinkus. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Polovin Pinkus for details.

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