How To Be Involved In A Child’s Education As A Parent


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Let’s Work Together: Your Child’s Teacher & You (The Parent)


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From the earliest grades on, it is important that you become actively involved in your child’s education. One of the best ways to do this is to establish a good working relationship with your child’s teachers. Aside from your family members, there are few people who influence children more than their teachers.

On The First Day, Introduce Yourself.


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At the beginning of each school year, plan to meet briefly with your child’s teacher. If this is not possible, send a note. Express your desire to work with her or him for your child’s benefit. Provide a telephone number or ask for a note to be sent home so that you
are aware of any concerns.

Always Acquaint Yourself with Your Child’s
Textbooks and Work.


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Often the school will have a “Back-to-School Night” when your children’s teachers present an overview of the year’s studies and their classroom practices. If not, or in addition, take some time to skim through your child’s books. See what material will be covered during the year. Find out from the teacher what the normal pattern of homework will be. Review your child’s test scores and grades on a regular basis so that there are no surprises at the end of the term. If you have questions or concerns, contact the teacher as soon as possible.

If Possible, Volunteer in the School
and/or Your Child’s Classroom.


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Good schools welcome parent participation. While being in the classroom during the school day may not be possible for working parents, there are often other opportunities to participate in and support school activities outside the scheduled school day. To identify these opportunities, talk to the parents’ organization, classroom parent or the teacher.

Make Plans for Your Parent/Teacher


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Generally, conferences will be scheduled to coincide with the first report card. If not, contact your child’s teacher and ask to meet to discuss your child’s progress. Ideally, this should be done at least twice a year. Present your expectations and ask the teacher what his or her expectations are. How is your child meeting these standards? What areas need improvement? How can you help? Remember to discuss your child’s social development, as well as academic progress. Let the teacher know that you appreciate her or his efforts on behalf of your child and that you are eager to support these efforts at home. Encourage your child’s teacher to keep the lines of communication open and assure the teacher that you will do the same.

5 Things You Can Do if There is a Problem
with a Teacher.


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Between the many years from kindergarten to senior year of high school, it is likely that you may come across a teacher whose teaching style does not serve the needs of your child. What should you do?

• Identify the issue. Is there too much homework? Not enough homework? Is your child scoring poorly on tests? Is your child unclear as to what is expected? Does your child feel unfairly treated? Talk with your child to understand fully his or her sense of the problem and combine that information with your own observations.

• Schedule a conference with the teacher. When you meet with the teacher, be prepared to listen to her or his perspective on the situation. Avoid being confrontational. Explain to the teacher what you see are the issues and discuss possible solutions. If you both agree that the problem is one which can be resolved in the classroom, develop a plan of
action, timetable and follow-up schedule. Agree that both of you will communicate as soon as any problem develops or if the plan does not seem to be working satisfactorily.

• Involve your child in solving the problem. Let your child know about your conversation with the teacher. If your meeting with the teacher resulted in a plan of action, go over the plan with your child. If your child has any concerns or suggestions, follow-up with the teacher. Once a plan has been agreed to, clearly communicate both your expectations and support to your child. Stick with the plan, including checking with the teacher and your child, until the problem is resolved.

• Believe that your child can succeed and insist that the school believe it too. Be an advocate for your child. However, be certain to listen to both sides of any issue before drawing any conclusions. It will not help your child if you either defend him or her
blindly or assume that the teacher is always right. If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve issues with the teacher and do not think continued discussion will help, go to the principal or assistant principal. Discuss the situation and seek resolution.

Occasionally, there may be a mismatch of personalities which requires that your child be placed in another class.


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This is rare, but allow for the possibility should it occur. Such a change must be carefully weighed against the disruption to the child of being placed in a new class. Remember that both you and the school should be striving for your child’s optimum educational experience. As with most situations, open communication, among all involved, and an agreed upon plan are most important.

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