There are so many checks and balances in the educational system for our children and if they don’t succeed I am coming to believe that a large part of the reason why has to rest on the parent. The teachers can only do so much. They can help our children, they can test our children, they can give book reports and grade papers and suggest after school programs for our children – at the end of the day not only do the children have to step up to the plate and become more responsible, the parents must also.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
A key to helping our children to do well in school depends on the ability of parent and teacher to coexist in a child’s life. The beginning of that coexistence rests in the relationship that the teacher and the parent possess. To be in successful relationship requires communication. Attend back to school nights and listen.
1. Introduce yourself to the teacher,
2. tell them whose child is in their class,
3. express your willingness to help the teacher to teach your child,
4. be welcoming of criticism,
5. don’t justify your child’s behavior or performance in class,
6. be open to suggestions,
7. and communicate appreciation.
If possible, bringing your child to these nights is helpful because they can directly hear what the teacher has to say about them and they know that what the teacher says the parent hears which will cut down on the child’s ability to manipulate a situation. Having attended children’s back to school nights for 11 years, the benefits of this first meeting of parent to teacher is measureable. The more the child realizes that you and the teacher are in this thing together, the more there will be less of an attempt to again, manipulate mom or dad into believing the teacher “hates” them. Many schools have incorporated email and posting grades on line. Now, what can be better than this for the parent who simply cannot make these back to school night meetings due to work, conflicts with other scheduled events or with other children’s schedules? Here is a perfect opportunity to track your child’s progress and to know within a week or two what subjects your child needs help. Sending an email to the teacher is a way to keep the lines of communication open. This has been very beneficial for the teacher and for the parent because it allows intimate and direct communication and it impresses upon the teacher that you are interested in your child. The more the parent actively invests in time with the child, the more the teacher will invest in that child.
The time in which we live is one where education and the ability of our children to succeed in not only school and in life – is critical. Having a base of knowledge and having the tools to think through a problem are what helps children become adults that can navigate problems and hold steady the course through the inevitable rough waters that will be encountered as they grow older. As parent, helping navigation is what we are called to do. Children left without a parent to guide and discipline create their own “parents”. This has resulted in what is ever present in the population – children floundering and creating peer groups that exemplify the disciplinarian that they need. Having no base knowledge and no critical thinking abilities allows children to create what they think it means to be a man or to be a woman and this thinking has created violence, poor choice and low expectations.
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Communicate with the teacher, communicate with your child that you have communicated with your teacher, communicate with your child that you care by developing a learning atmosphere in the home and in your heart. To assist with children’s study declutter children’s study area, turn off the television, turn up the lights, be available for assistance, allow children to ask questions, answer what you can, jot a note for or send an email to the teacher if you can’t and quiet the house. Letting our children know by action that their teacher and their parent care and communicate will allow them to care about themselves.