What to Do When It Appears Your Child is Having Difficulties in School
Do you think your child is having problems or difficulties with school? Do you see him/her struggling, frustrated, apathetic? Does it appear that he or she is losing interest in education? There are some specific actions you can take that will help the situation.
When parents become more involved, children get a much clearer sense that a high value is placed on education (it’s not just talk). Quite often this will help alleviate feelings of frustration, inadequacy or hopelessness. This is the essence of the Parent-Driven School.
Is Your Child Having Trouble in School?
The school is there to help you.
Written by Charlie Rose, a certified teacher in the state of New York. He taught for several years before becoming a full-time freelance writer.
If you’re a parent whose child is having trouble in school you’re not alone. At some point in their schooling almost every child will run into some type of problem. Either the child will struggle academically, not be challenged enough intellectually, or the child may have some type of social problem such as being the victim of bullying. The most important thing you need to remember if and when a problem crops-up is that the school is there to help you and your child.
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
That’s an old saying that is very true. You will get more accomplished and more cooperation from everyone – including school staff – is you’re nice. Even if there’s something going on at school that has you fuming mad, don’t take that anger out on your child’s teachers or the school administration. Yelling and screaming may make you feel better in the short term but it won’t help solve the problem.
When your child has a problem in a particular class or with a particular teacher, go to that teacher first if it’s possible. Don’t go over a teacher’s head unless you absolutely need to do so. Teachers are your child’s first line of defense. Sometimes teachers spend more waking hours with your child then you do. So, you don’t want to become enemies with any teachers if you can help it.
If the teacher can’t solve your problem then you can request to meet with the principal or some other type of administrator. However, if possible ask the teacher to set-up the meeting. Be sure to explain to the teacher why you’re requesting the meeting. Always focus on your child and how the problem needs to be solved. Do not accuse the teacher of anything. Simply explain that you feel that an administrator needs to be involved and, if possible, explain why you feel that way.
Once you get into the meeting you want to be sure that you listen and are open to what the school suggests for you and your child. You don’t have to accept the advice (You and you alone are your child’s best advocate!) but you should always listen and consider what you’re told.
A few years ago I was involved in a meeting with all the parents of a special needs student and all of her 7th grade teachers. The student we were meeting about needed more than a regular classroom could give her. She was a brilliant girl but she spent her day acting out and disrupting the class. She would get-up in the middle of class and run around the room, she would walkout of the classroom at any given moment, and she would sing loudly during tests and other quiet working times.
The school had the girl analyzed and the doctors all agreed that she needed a special placement. Well, her parents thought that was the worst thing for her. They insisted she needed to be in a regular classroom. Making matters worse, the father of this girl was on the school board.
What these parents failed to see is that their daughter needed special attention in order to reach her full academic potential. They were hurting her by keeping her in a regular classroom.
However, to the parents’ credit, they did listen to what the school had to say and they were very cordial with all the teachers. So, they weren’t any bad feelings at any point during the meeting.
Two more meetings followed and eventually the parents came to realize that their daughter did indeed need special placement. By them listening and considering what the school was saying they finally made the right decision, and because they were civil all along, a solution was worked out easily.
So, if your child is having a problem, you have to see the school as a resource for you. You need to realize that the school is your friend. Treat them as such and use them as a resource and you should be able to work out your child’s problem quickly.
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