Working with the teacher

Three ways to help keep your child on track at school.

By GreatSchools Staff

Remember, you are the expert!

No one knows your child as well as you do. The teacher might be an ace at getting kids to memorize their multiplication tables, but does she know that your child gets sleepy after lunch? Or easily distracted if he’s sitting near other chatty kids? Or that he’s struggled with math since first grade?

Nope, only you know these things, and they can make all the difference between your child thriving or struggling in school.

And while the teacher is dealing with 30 students all day, you are focused on only one child — your own! You are your child’s best advocate, so don’t hesitate to work with the teacher whenever you feel there’s a problem or concern.

Here are some times you should check in with your child’s teacher:

If your child gets a bad grade.
Get in touch with the teacher (a call or email should do) and ask about the grade and exactly how your child is struggling. Also ask for advice on how you can help at home. In a week or so, check in again to see if your child is making any progress.

If your child is having a hard time with homework.
Either meet with or email the teacher and explain the issues your child is having. Be as specific as possible. (If the problem is in math, for instance, is he having trouble understanding equations or doing the calculations?) Tell the teacher what you’ve been doing to help, and ask if she has any suggestions for what you could do differently or what she thinks the problem might be.

If your child says he is having problems at school.
Meet with the teacher to talk about what your child is telling you — whether it’s a small thing, such as he can’t see the blackboard, or something more complicated like bullying. Tell the teacher what your child is reporting, adding any details you know, and ask for suggestions, ideas, or help in solving the problem.

Whenever you talk to the teacher, make sure she understands that you’re acting as part of a team. By always asking what you can do to help, you’ll immediately let her know that you’re not blaming her or asking her to solve all of your child’s problems.