The beginning of the school year is a hectic time for everyone. Teachers and students are getting back into the routine of teaching and learning and you are back to pestering your child to study and to get good grades, chauffeuring him to after school events, and generally worrying about how the school year will go. Conferences are right around the corner and you are about to get an opportunity to find out what is going on in the classroom and what you can do to help your child succeed. Before you get your one-on-one time with the teacher, here are a few things that we as educators want you to know.
Parents often enthusiastically attend elementary school conferences. As the years pass, however, that attendance wears off and middle and high school teachers see few of their students' parents. No matter the age or grade of your child, or what her report card looks like, it is important for you to meet with the teacher. We can tell you things about your child that you do not know and you can tell us about important things that happen at home. You may be surprised and pleased to find out that your daughter stands up for another student who gets bullied. She will appreciate your interest in what she does every day and that can only strengthen your relationship.**
When you come into conferences with a grimace already plastered on your face and a complaint at the ready, we steel ourselves for a battle. The best and most fruitful communication occurs when you approach us in a positive and helpful manner. Start the conversation on a pleasant note and then respectfully address any concerns you have. It will be much easier for us to help you and your child when we have a productive and positive conversation about the issues. As a bonus, your example will rub off on your child and he will be more successful when he has the right attitude. If you're having trouble with your child's teacher, here are 3 principles to help you navigate your relationship with them.**
One of the most common reasons parents attend conferences, especially in the higher grades, is to get the report card. Understand that there is more to talk about than letters on a piece of paper. Also know that we as teachers do not give grades, your child earns them. We set certain standards, often outlined by the school, district, or state, and when your child meets those standards, she earns a grade to reflect it. Please do not bargain with us for a new grade. Your child receives the grade according to her effort and achievement, not our whims.
The term helicopter parent is prevalent these days. If you hover over your child, try to fix his mistakes for him, or make excuses to us as to why he did poorly on a test with a request that he be allowed to take it again, you may be in danger of being a helicopter. Your child needs to learn from his mistakes, so making one occasionally is not the end of the world. Let him falter, but when he does, make no excuses and let him receive the consequences and learn from it.
Finally, please remember that your child's teachers are professional educators. We have been through years of schooling to get to this point and we know what we are talking about when it comes to your child's education. Please take our advice and recommendations seriously and trust what we have to say, even if it sometimes reveals something negative about your child.
Learn more about what to expect from your parent teacher conferences or find the right tutor for your child with Noodle!