By Dr. Ruth Jacoby, Educational Consultant
I just came from an unsuccessful parent-teacher conference. Here's my story: Yesterday my really smart child comes home in tears and says "Mom, I got 4 F's."
We sit down, she says she doesn't understand the instructions. These are her first F's in life. I set up a parent-teacher conference to sort our
communication issues - maybe I'm not aware of what's required, maybe my daughter's not asking enough questions - who knows. So the teacher basically says, not to worry about the F's. My daughter's fine. I need to lighten up. So the very communication issue my daughter has in class gets played out in the teacher conference. Where do I go from here?
If the F's continue or you are still unhappy with how the conference ended, call for another one, but this time write down the key points you want to make with the teacher. Restate to the teacher that your expectations for your child do not include failing grades and that you want to seek help to find out why this is occurring since she has never failed before. Find out why the teacher is making light of this.
Sit down with your daughter and role-play how to ask for assistance. Assign roles: You be the student first and your child the teacher. Switch roles so your daughter starts to learn through this practice the best and most comfortable way for her to ask a question.
Have your daughter bring home the textbooks. Review the areas where she is having difficulties. Write down the key points in a "Study Journal." Have your daughter review her class notes and highlight the key points. You may have to assist quite a bit in the beginning since forming new study habits is not an easy task. Your effort will be worth it when your daughter does most of the studying on her own and you just have to be there for quick reviews. The end result of higher grades will justify the time put in.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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