Parent and Teacher’s Guide to Teaching Self Advocacy

Inner confidence isn’t always easy for students to develop, especially when they are experiencing academic difficulties in school. Our advice for parents: it’s important for self-advocacy to be highlighted for everyone involved in the education process, teachers included!

Advocacy for students. The concept of empowering oneself to grow is something that is learned over time with the help of positive reinforcement and self-confidence. We have a blog dedicated to the importance of developing a growth mindset! When it comes to advocating for oneself in the classroom, students should primarily focus on their understanding of the material being presented to them. If this requires additional clarification from the teacher, that’s perfectly fine! Self-advocacy is all about voicing one’s individual needs. Great examples of self-advocacy in the classroom include:

  • Asking the teacher questions during a lesson
  • Requesting clarification when a concept doesn’t make sense
  • Speaking up when an assignment is challenging
  • Raising your hand to contribute in the classroom
  • Asking your teacher to repeat information
  • Requesting additional resources for assignments or projects

On the non-academic side, self-advocacy is critical – especially in today’s world of social media. Students are constantly exposed to the pressures of social media apps, and cyberbullying has become a serious problem in recent years. Self-confidence is the key factor to rising above these social pressures, and parents can help their kids by encouraging responsibility and individualism! To learn more about helping your child maintain privacy and safety during their online activity, check out our blog on the topic.

Self-advocacy is important for parents, too – and for all you parents out there, you’re doing a great job! If your student is struggling in class, it’s often our natural tendency to reach out to the teacher with questions. We encourage parents to advocate for themselves, but also for their child’s hard-working teachers. In many cases, classroom difficulties are due to organization issues on the student’s end – forgetting to turn in assignments, losing track of due dates, etc. Your child’s teacher will be able to provide deeper insights into how these issues can be addressed. In any case, teachers benefit from direct feedback if a particular assignment is overly challenging or difficult to understand and will appreciate you reaching out!

As many parents already know, being a teacher is one of the hardest, most underappreciated (and underpaid) careers out there. Managing 30-plus kids in a classroom is no easy task, and it is nearly impossible for teachers to encompass the needs of every individual student. If you need to reach out to your child’s teacher, keep this in mind – many teachers are parents themselves and will surely understand where you’re coming from if your child is struggling. Most importantly, your child’s teacher will appreciate you reaching out for both advice and feedback in regard to homework assignments, long-term projects, and more!

Click here to read more about developing self-confidence in the classroom!