Talking to your teen’s teacher can either be a pleasant or challenging experience, and it often depends on how you address the situation. Before you get upset with a teacher, remember they are also caring for 18 to 30 other students and their plates are pretty full. Stay calm, be respectful and know that you’re in it together.
Chances are it’s not always good news on the other line when a teacher calls to talk about your child. Proud parents don’t want to hear negative things being said of their child, even if they are true, and it’s easy to lash out and become defensive. However, it’s important to stay calm because the teacher is ultimately the person who can be the most helpful in turning your child’s problems into victories.
Ask For Details
The more you know about your teen’s classroom struggles, the better you’ll be able to help. The teacher has hands-on experience dealing with your child’s learning or behavioral problems, so use your conversation with them to learn as much as you can about your teen. Whether they need to focus on test-taking skills or spend more time on homework assignments, you’ll be able to create a plan that will help your teen succeed.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your teen’s teacher when there is a problem. Assuming you both want what’s best for your child, you can use your time together as a way to bring your different viewpoints (classroom versus home) to light and find the best ways to address your child’s needs in various settings.
Include Your Child
Just because you want to have a one-on-one conversation with your teen’s teacher doesn’t mean you have to completely exclude your child from the event—after all, they are the topic of interest. Before you go into your meeting, ask your teen if there is anything they are struggling with in particular or if they have any issues they want you to raise with their teachers. Sometimes it can help to have a parent get a teen’s message across for them.
Be Prepared and Be Honest
If you’ve arranged a meeting with your teen’s teacher, be prepared; have talking points, questions and know the reason for the meeting. Regardless of whether you’ve arranged a meeting or receive a cold call from the teacher, be honest and upfront about your teen’s needs and behavior. If the teacher claims your child is skipping class or not turning in assignments, don’t defend your child or place the blame on someone or something else. Appreciate that the teacher is taking the time to reach out to you and address the issues, and hopefully some solutions can come of the conversation.
After everything be sure to thank your teen’s teacher for their hard work and efforts in helping your child succeed in school. The more you respect the teacher, the more they will respect you and the better you’ll both be able to improve your child’s education.
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