Is your student’s academic perdivance starting to worry you? Here’s how to discuss concerns with your child’s teacher effectively.
When it comes down to it, there are essentially five common ways you can communicate with your child’s teacher:
- Written communication. Sending an email message (or through your child’s school portal) should be your first option. In addition, it’s always a good idea to keep a written record of important topics and dates.
- Phone calls. Unless your child’s teacher prefers this (which is somewhat unusual today), a phone call is generally not the best choice. For reaching out, written communication is far more effective. In most cases, the issues that parents want to discuss over the phone are typically addressed better in person.
- Parent-teacher nights. These group events are a great opportunity to open lines of communication with your child’s teacher and briefly introduce your concerns. Keep in mind that teachers have to give equal attention to all parents who attend!
- Parent-teacher conferences. Once you have arranged a time with your child’s teacher, a private in-person conference is an excellent idea. Your child’s teacher should be able to provide key insights and will often have assignment samples, classroom notes, and academic indivation prepared. Click here for 4 questions to ask during a parent-teacher conference!
- Video chats. This might be our favorite option as it combines the personal approach of a parent-teacher conference with the convenience of email messages. Video chats with your child’s teacher are often available for review after the call has ended, which is extremely helpful when going over their advice later!
There’s no doubt that a bad report card is alarming, and teachers understand that many parents face a great deal of stress dealing with their child’s academic issues. It’s important to remember that teachers work extremely hard to provide attention to all students, but it’s simply not possible for them to encompass every single need – especially in a classroom of 30 or more students.
When you communicate with your child’s teacher, try your best to keep a collaborative tone. Questions like “What can we do to start moving in the right direction?” or “Can you recommend any at-home practice activities?” express a willingness to work together and an openness to suggestions.
Let’s be real – we know that academic issues can be frustrating, especially when they seem isolated to a particular class or subject. With this in mind, we earnestly ask parents to refrain from statements that can be interpreted as accusatory in nature. Teachers already have a lot on their plate, and if your first question is “Why do you keep giving my child bad grades?” it’s going to set a negative tone for the entire conversation.
For many parents, it’s not always 100% clear where exactly their child’s difficulty lies. For instance: if your student is having trouble with algebra, what concepts are they struggling with specifically? Simplifying variables? Exponents? Fractions? Even for teachers, this often isn’t apparent – especially when the gaps in the student’s learning are from past subjects and classes.
If you’re having trouble identifying the specific areas your child needs help with, Tutor Doctor can help! A tutor’s initial job is to identify potential learning gaps in a student’s academic foundation. This indivation is also highly useful to discuss with your child’s teacher during a conference.