As parents we are always concerned about our kid's education. It can be challenging to navigate the school system, especially when it comes to advocating for your child.
Don't worry, you aren't alone! Here you'll find practical tips on how to be the best advocate for your child. So grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let's get started!
Having a good relationship with your child's school staff is key to effectively advocating for him or her. So, don't be afraid to say "hi" to your child's teacher and attend those parent-teacher conferences.
Keep in touch with school staff regularly - don't be afraid to shoot them an email or schedule a phone call if you can't meet in person.
If you're a working parent with a tight schedule, finding time to participate in school events and activities can be a challenge. So, why not consider attending virtual meetings or events? It's an ideal way to show your support and get involved even if you can't physically be there.
How to Talk to My Child’s Teacher
There are lots of ways you can speak up for your child, but when you have a particular concern whether it be grades, bullying or something else, it is important to approach the conversation in the right way.
The first thing you should do is request a time to meet with the teacher. It’s not a good idea to send emails or other electronic communication about problems. This is because the tone and context can be misinterpreted.
The most positive way to speak to the teacher is to organise a time to talk, and let them know what it is about, so they can be prepared.
You might think you can just pop into the classroom to chat, which is always welcomed, but quite often teachers have other responsibilities before and after class times, so it's best to make an appointment so that they have the time to listen.
Before your appointment try to make some notes about your particular worry and any solutions or outcomes you’d like from the meeting. Perhaps you are concerned about their progress, you could ask the teacher if you think they are meeting the grade level requirements, or if they need some extra support or even an individual learning plan.
I'm Worried if I Speak Up, the Teacher Will Pick on My Child!
It is a common concern among parents that if they approach the school about concerns, that their child may be "picked on" by the teacher.
In reality, the majority of instructors appreciate parent feedback and view it as a chance to work together to ensure that the needs of all students are being met. Additionally, all staff members at the school, including teachers, principals, and support personnel, want to collaborate to create the best learning environment for everyone.
Speaking up and standing up for your child not only benefits them, but it also benefits the entire school community.
It's crucial to keep in mind that if you advocate for your child, teachers won't "pick on" them. Remember teacher's are professionals and always do their best to remain fair and impartial. Even when they face conflict with a parent they try their utmost best to put their personal feelings aside.
Talk to Your Child's Teacher Early
In order to effectively advocate for your child, you must be proactive in addressing issues. Any difficulties should be dealt with as soon as they arise in order to avoid them becoming more serious ones.
Don't be reluctant to ask for meetings with your kids teacher when necessary to discuss any worries you may have. Try to be as specific as possible when discussing your concerns. Bring along recommendations, or solutions to the school staff when discussing problems, that you would like to happen. For example if your child is not making the progress expected of them, you could ask that they be put on an individual learning plan. Make sure to follow up on any agreed-upon actions as well to make sure they are carried out.
By being proactive and addressing any issues as soon as they arise, you can ensure that your child receives the support they require to succeed in school.
Keep in mind that you are your child's best advocate and you are doing what you need to do as a parent.
What If They Don't Listen?
If you feel like your child's teacher hasn't listened to your concerns, it's important to continue advocating for your child in a positive way.
The best next step is to request another meeting with the teacher to clarify your concerns and discuss possible solutions. When doing so, it's important to stay positive and avoid getting overly emotional. Rehearse what you want to say, and try to explain your concerns in a clear and concise manner, without becoming upset.
Provide some specific examples that illustrate your concerns, and suggest potential solutions that you believe could help address the issue. Remember, the goal is to work collaboratively with the teacher to find a solution that benefits your child's learning experience.
By staying calm, collected, and assertive, you can help ensure that your child's needs are being heard and addressed in a constructive way.
I Don't Want to be "That Parent"
Many parents I speak to are worried about being "that parent" - you know the one that is always complaining, asking questions and up at the office about every little thing. Here is my take - if you are worried about being "that parent" then you are definitely not "that parent". Advocating for your child's needs and discussing any concerns is important.
Teachers want to know!
There is nothing worse than a parent coming to us in Term 3 or 4 and saying X Y Z and it has been going on since the beginning of the year. Most of the time teachers will have encountered this problem or concern before and will be able to fix it easily. But they can't if they don't know about it. It is particularly important to talk to school staff early on if you suspect any bullying behaviour. It has been statistically proven that once a child tells adults what is going on, that over 90% of the time the bullying stops.
Teachers Are On Your Side
It's important to remember that teachers are on your side when it comes to your child's education. They understand that as parents, you want the best for your child and want to help support you. Teachers are often parents themselves, and they understand the challenges that come with raising children. They understand how difficult it can be to speak up about your worries and how important your children are to you.
So, if you ever have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher. Remember that they are there to support you and your child, and by working together, you can help ensure that your child receives the best education possible.
What If I've Tried This and it Doesn't Work?
If you have tried discussing your concerns with your child's teacher and you feel that you have not been able to resolve the problem then it may be time to seek assistance from the school's deputy or principal.
It is important to know that there are other options available if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your conversations with the teacher.
The deputy or principal can help to find a resolution that benefits all parties involved. Keep in mind that it's important to remain calm and respectful when discussing any concerns with the deputy or principal, and to provide specific examples that illustrate the nature of the conflict.
Remember, the goal is always to work collaboratively with the school to ensure that your child receives the best education possible.
If you have tried discussing any issues with your child's classroom teacher and the admin team and have not received a satisfactory outcome, you may want to consider taking the matter further. This could involve reaching out to your school district's regional director or the relevant government body, such as the Education Minister. This should be an absolute last resort.
If you feel that your child's well-being is at risk due to serious issues such as bullying, discrimination or inadequate support for learning difficulties. It might be time to consider moving your child to another school. Ultimately, the safety and well-being of your child should be the top priority, and it's important to take appropriate action to ensure that their educational experience is positive and conducive to their learning and growth.
If you are concerned about bullying you can visit these websites for more support -
Speaking up for your child in school is something every parent will need to do at one time or another. Building a good relationship with your child's teachers and staying in regular contact with them is a great way to feel confident if a problem arises. When discussing issues with school staff, it's important to stay positive, provide specific suggestions, and follow up on any agreed-upon actions.
Remember that teachers are there to work with you to provide the best possible education for your child.
At Wise Owl Tuition, we understand the importance of advocating for your child's education and we are here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced tutors provide individualised instruction to help your child reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more!
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