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Your Childs Teacher and You

Madhulika has received a note from her 11 year old son Sumits Class Teacher, asking for a meeting. She is not surprised as she had been anticipating something of this sort - of late Sumits grades have been falling, he has also been complaining about his class and that the teacher picks on him. The dilemma of course is ho to tackle this meeting. She does reali!e that Sumit could be at fault but also senses that the teacher may not be handling it the right ay. She ould like to address these concerns but at the same time she ould not ant the meeting to become a slanging match. Madhulika is on the right track, parents need to realize that their childs teacher is the only adult beside the parents who can exert a great influence on the child. In most cases, your childs teachers are qualified educators who will help him / her to grow and prosper as the school year progresses. If there truly is a problem that needs to be sol ed, it will benefit both you and your child if you handle it in a calm, respectful way that isn!t accusatory or attacking. "ets face it # most children do not breeze through the school years without problems. $here are bound to be issues with grades, homework, beha ior, a classmate or e en a particular teachers approach to dealing with the kids under her charge. %hen that point comes, some le el of parent teacher collaboration is going to be called for. &ome points to keep in mind when such a situation arises and the dreaded parent teacher meeting becomes ine itable are listed below. 1. Arrive prepared. 'efore the meeting (ot down a few points you want to co er, questions you want to ask, and concerns you ha e. $he teacher will see this as a sign that you are taking the meeting seriously. $alk to your child before meeting her teacher. )sk her if theres anything shed like you to bring up. *our con ersation with your childs teacher is a two+way street. *ou are there to get information about your childs education and how you can support the process, and also to pro ide the teacher with information about your child, his home life, special needs and circumstances that can help the teacher teach him better or understand why he beha es a certain way. 2. Be punctual. -or sure, its not easy to take this hour+and+a+half out of your busy schedule, but your childs teacher works full time at the school and has arious other commitments. .nlike offices, schools ha e a ery structured minute to minute schedule. If you arri e half an hour early or late dont expect the teacher to abandon a class to meet up with you. 3. Start out with a positive. If you are thinking of bringing up complaints about your childs teacher, dont start off the discussion with a negati e. 'ring up one or two examples of his or her teaching that you are happy with. $hen approach the negati e. $ry not to nitpick or make your complaints too personal. /mphasize why you feel its not best for your child. 0ont let your emotions or anger take o er the con ersation. 'e careful not to undermine the teacher!s authority. / en if you!re feeling negati e towards your childs teacher, try not to let her know that.

4. Dont be de ensive. If the teacher brings up problems your child is ha ing, dont be quick to offer excuses and dont get defensi e. )sk questions, ask for specific examples of the problem and then ask what you can do at home to help. !. Ta"e notes. $ake a paper and pencil with you and be prepared to take notes. )fter the conference, immediately talk to your child about the meeting and what was said. #. $ut the plan into action. 1heck with your child regularly to see how it!s going If you want to be in ol ed in your childs education you need to put in some time e ery day rather than getting worked up when you see the report card. $alk to your child e ery day about what happened at school , go through her notebooks regularly praise him if hes got a good grade or positi e remark , or if the handwriting is neat, in fact look out for something to praise about the childs work. 0ont be unduly harsh about your childs mistakes. 'e positi e e en about the negati e remarks or mistakes that you may obser e in the childs work. $he most important point to emphasize is that mistakes should be utilized to learn. 2o point in running down the teacher or the child as it only undermines the childs confidence and self esteem. )fter the meeting, you might want to send the teacher a thank+you note or e+ mail, restating the plans for impro ement. It will show her you respect her taking the time to talk with you. Madhulika need not ha e any apprehensions about the impending meeting with the teacher. Mature adults set up meetings to address problems and arri e at solutions. $he best kind of parent teacher meetings takes place in a spirit of information exchange. It helps to keep in mind that both the parent and teacher ultimately want what is best for the child and theres is a common goal no conflicts about that.