How to approach your child’s teacher with concerns
When we talked to teachers about parent-teacher meetings we learned that there are things you can do to make a parent-teacher meeting less stressful for all parties. There are simple things that can be done to make the otherwise awkward meeting easier. We interviewed two teaches and found some of the best ways to approach your child’s teacher with concerns
Lay the groundwork early
Laying a good foundation by having a healthy parent-teacher relationship from the start will make contacting a dealing with issues that may arise later much easier. Get to know your child’s teacher sooner than later and build a relationship early in the process.
Double Check the story if something does happen
Be sure to double check your child’s story when he or she comes home with a concern. Remember there are always two sides to a story. It is not uncommon for a child to exaggerate a story to get attention from a parent. If you have the chance to check this story out with another child’s parent in the class then, by all means, do so. You should have a very clear understanding before you approach the school and teacher.
Restrain from just showing up at the school or firing off emails
Take a deep breath and cool down before making a decision. Remember, going through the right channels will make the entire process easier. It would benefit you and your child to make sure you’re thinking clearly before writing an email or worse showing up at a school without setting a time to do so. It will be best to set up an appointment with the teacher so you can have a one on one and discuss the issue privately.
Take this opportunity to teach your child
One of the worst things you can do is negatively speak about your child’s teacher to your child. This is because they will start to do the same, this could make the situation worse. Take this time to teach your child how to be positive and teach them how to problem solve the issue with you.
Avoid getting defensive
When either party feels defensive it could end up getting in the way of finding a solution to your child’s issue. Instead, try and understand the teacher’s perspective and help them understand yours. Keep in mind that the teacher wants to handle the issue just as much as you do.
Identify the issue and be clear
Be clear about what the exact issue is. Who is involved and how your child is affected? It would be wise to also ask the teacher about the problem, you will want to hear their point of view as well. Example: John is saying he is getting bullied at the playground. Does this sound correct from what you have seen?
Find possible solutions
Remember your dealing with a teacher, odds are they have dealt with something like your issue or similar in the past. Try not to make any judgments about ideas for solutions at this point. This will up your chances at finding a solution that works.
When you find a suitable solution choose it and give it a try. Be sure to tell the teacher that you want to follow up again to make sure the issue has been resolved. It is not uncommon to want to speak again within a 1 to 2-week period. If things are going well, you could email or phone into the teacher and not have to physically meet.
Does your problem persist?
If your child’s problem has not gotten better, it may be time to get others involved to help in the process of finding a suitable solution. These may be the likes of a school principal or guidance counselors. Before doing this, we would recommend that you alert the teacher that none of the solutions seem to be working and you would like to speak to other school members to try and find a solution.