Common Mistakes When Talking with Your Child’s Teacher
It’s that time of the year again – the dreaded parent-teacher interviews. Even parents with the most advanced children get nervous during this time because although you know how your child behaves at home, you never know what they’re up to at school. Or, if it’s not that time of the year, you might just have some questions and concerns for your child’s teacher.
It can be easy to get defensive over your children (and you have every right!) but it’s important to remember their teacher is their teacher for a reason. Knowing how to talk to educators can help you to better understand your kid’s performance without getting heated. Below are some mistakes parents frequently make when it comes to talking to teachers.
1. Flying off the Handle with Schoolwork Struggles
Most often, teachers will want to talk to you if they’re concerned about your child in any way. But remember, just like you have the right to get defensive, their teachers have the right to get concerned. Flying off the handle before you’ve even had a chance to hear what the teacher has to say will not only build a poor rapport between the adults but also make your kid’s school life a little more difficult.
Instead, try to stay calm by asking the right questions and remembering that this is all for the benefit of your child. It’s better to have a constructive conversation than a detrimental one that’s not going to get you anywhere.
2. Making Excuses for Your Child
At the end of the day, if your kid is misbehaving, they’re misbehaving. In most circumstances, it doesn’t really matter why they’re acting out but more so how they react to difficult situations. For example, if the teacher has begun to notice when your child hangs out with certain peers they have the tendency to interrupt or not listen to instructions. This doesn’t mean it’s the time for you to make excuses, but rather figure out a way to curb the behavior so your child shows a better level of at-school performance.
Together, you and their teacher will easily be able to find the triggers for their bad behavior and successfully remedy the situation.
3. Being Intimidating or Getting Intimidated
It’s quite common for teachers to be intimidated by parents and in most cases, you may even find yourself falling down that slippery slope as well. It’s okay – it’s human nature! The best thing to do is to accept your child’s teacher with open arms and hope their teacher offers you the same benefit of the doubt. It’s important to remember that everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, and there’s no point to being intimidating or feeling smaller than you actually are.
Your child’s teacher doesn’t know them as well as you do, and so if they approach you with concerns the best thing to do is to give them guidance on how they can help your kids. For example, if their teacher talks about how your child isn’t grasping the concept of spelling and is instead lashing out, consider letting the teacher know that your child may be more of an auditory learner. This can help the teacher to format their lesson plan to accommodate your child’s learning style.
4. Getting Kids Involved
Sure, the discussion you’re having with their teacher is about them but it doesn’t mean they should be in the room when you’re having your conference. At least, not in all cases. If your child is misbehaving then it’s advised you pull them into the meeting with their teacher so they can understand what it is that they’ve done. Though if you’re discussing their difficulties in certain areas, it’s best if you have that discussion between adults.
The last thing you’ll want to do is make your child feel like they are sub-standard when compared to all of their other classmates. The idea of being less adept at academics can damage their self-esteem and only make their performance worse than ever before. It’s best to talk to the teacher on the phone prior to meeting face-to-face so you can get an idea of the issues you will be talking about. At that point, you can then decide if it would be beneficial to bring your child along or not.
5. Making the Mistake that You Know Everything
It’s so easy to say, “I gave birth to my child, I know them better than everyone else in the world,” and although you may know how they are at home, it doesn’t mean you know what they’re like when they’re at school. There are so many different factors that come into play when a child leaves and goes to school every day, ranging from peer pressure to trying to meet absurd standards.
You may know what your child is like, and in many parents’ cases, they think they know what they want their child to be like. But remember, your teacher is discussing how your child learns and acts when they are outside of your home. In fact, your kid’s teachers probably have a much better idea of what their “at-school personality” is than you do. Sometimes this can be a tough pill to swallow, but accepting this fact is what will help you motivate your child to be more successful.
6. Letting the Teacher Correct Behavior Alone
They were right when they said that raising a child takes a village. This means you’re going to need help from family, friends, and even their teachers to guide your kid down the right path. Although it might be tempting to say, “Well, when they’re at school they’re your responsibility,” that couldn’t be further from the truth. Helping your children find their best self is a team effort and although your teacher does have the responsibility of making sure they put their best foot forward at school, so do you.
There are plenty of things you can do at home to instigate positive behavior, whether it’s extra curricular academic studies or talking to your children about how their school day went.
No one ever said that raising a child would be easy, especially when they get to the age where they’re finally off to school full-time. When talking to their teachers it’s best to be constructive and understand there could be room for improvement, rather than immediately getting defensive. By avoiding these crucial mistakes, your kids will easily be able to have the right tools for success.