One of the most important things that can be done for a child’s education is to understand that it takes place constantly, not just within the school. With that in mind, opening a dialogue with a student’s teacher can be an eye opening experience and help a parent gain a better grasp of what areas a child may need help in.
Contact the Teacher
While most parents are aware of the student teacher conference that might take place once a year, or when an issue arises, there are many other opportunities for two-way communication with the teacher. The best way to facilitate this is to find out at the beginning of the year how the teacher would like to be contacted about matters related to students. Whatever their preference may be, use it to make contact with the teacher to start things out on the right foot. If the teacher prefers e-mail, but you think a phone call would be best, attempt the e-mail first and if it doesn’t have the desired results request the phone call after.
Listen to the Teacher
This can’t be said enough, but if you’re going to ask the opinion of the student’s instructor, you have to be prepared to listen to their response. They may be a perfect angel at home, but if the teacher is experiencing behavioral issues, it is more likely that they exist at school than it is that the teacher is taking the time to invent a story from thin air. Perhaps the student is bored, or frustrated with the difficulty level, or perhaps the student is having challenges in the school room environment, but regardless the first step to finding the root cause of any issues a student may be having is to listen.
Follow Up With the Teacher
Once you’ve contacted the teacher and listened to any suggestions or concerns, it’s important to maintain the dialogue to stay aware of progress made, or other developments. If there was effort made to increase the amount of remedial homework to bring a child up to speed, it’s important to find out if those efforts had an impact on behavioral issues. Beyond simply checking in, maintaining the dialogue with the teacher can help to address small issues before they turn into larger problems.