It’s vital to have communication with children’s teachers
By Marge Eberts and Peggy Gisler
King Features Syndicate
Communication with your children’s teachers is always important. However, the nature of that communication changes with the years. The younger your children are, the more essential it is. This will ensure that problems, even small ones, are handled early so they won’t become serious. As children advance in the grades, most begin to take on the responsibility of communicating directly with their teachers without relying on your help. In fact, middle-school and high-school students are often very reluctant to have parents speak to their teachers. This can be a positive step in growing up.
To know when to talk to a teacher, listen carefully when your children complain about school. They will probably say most unpleasant events had nothing to do with their own actions — this might or might not be the case. Asking what happened to precipitate the event might get the child to see that he or she might have played a role in causing it. Talking about how the child would handle similar events in the future can teach the child a lot about avoiding them. Also, role-play with your child how he or she can talk with a teacher about a problem.
No matter the age of the child, there are times when parents must get involved. Listening to your child will help you know when. Don’t rush over to the school every time your child complains he or she was treated unfairly or did poorly on a test. Day-in and day-out complaints about the same problem, however, might warrant an early conversation with the teacher — especially in the lower grades. With older children, it is a good idea to talk to the child first about his or her complaints and how serious they really are. At any age, you need to contact your children’s teachers if you feel that they are struggling with a school problem that they will not be able to resolve by themselves.
It is not always essential to discuss smaller problems in person with the teacher. A phone call or e-mail might easily resolve them. If you attended the information evening with teachers at the beginning of the year, you know how they want to be contacted. For serious problems, a face-to-face meeting is essential. For older children with several teachers, it might be a good idea to include all child’s teachers, as well as the counselor, unless the problem is only with one subject or teacher.
Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of the Post-Bulletin, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: DearTeach@aol.com.