Parent – Teacher Interviews

By September 9, 2015L2, School
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We’re really good at supporting you to get the help your child needs at school. Because we work in schools and interact with teachers all the time, we’ve put together some helpful tips for talking to your child’s teacher.

 

Understand

the limitations of the teaching model. There are lots of children of differing ability supervised by few adults of differing ability. Because of this, there will always be work for you to do to ensure your child gets a complete education. You’re a part of the whole process, which means you shouldn’t see yourself as an outsider.

 

Build

some trust. Teachers worry about saying the wrong thing and upsetting parents. Sometimes this means they err on the side of not saying things that you may benefit from hearing. Keep in mind that what you hear from your child’s teacher is one perspective, in a totally different environment, with many demands on your child. It is not the definitive truth on how your child is. Tell the teacher you want to hear their perspective and invite them to provide it.

 

Talk

to your child’s teacher more than once a term. Schedule a time every 2 weeks to a month to talk about how your child is going. This doesn’t need to be a massive meeting, just a quick chat, call or email will work fine.

 

Listen

to what your child’s teacher says without defending yourself or your child. If you feel like you’re being unfairly judged, or that something inappropriate has been said, respond by telling them exactly that. For example; “I feel like you’re unfairly judging my parenting, could we stick to what’s happening in class?” Be as calm as you can, but avoid getting into an argument, because no one will benefit, even if the teacher is dead wrong and you are right. Ask the teacher (don’t do this aggressively) to clarify exactly what they’re seeing. Ask for examples the teacher may have seen and ask them what they would like to see from your child that would fix the problem. Try and find out:

 

  • What is happening?
  • Where is it happening? (context is everything)
  • How often is it happening?
  • What do we want to see instead?

 

Think

about your options and examine them. Remember that your child is with the teacher they have at least in the short term. Even if you’ve had enough and want to change schools (a perfectly acceptable option) it is unlikely that you can make that happen immediately. Consider your options carefully if you’re unable to resolve an issue with your child’s teacher. Can you talk to the principal or someone else who can help resolve your problem?

 

Be

wary of assessments. Often parents are confronted with assessment results presented out of context or with minimal explanation. A person’s score on a test can be representative of many things, only one of which could be an underlying problem itself. The person presenting you with assessment results should:

  1. Be qualified to administer and interpret the assessment.
  2. Explain the results and what they mean for your child.
  3. Help you work on a plan for what to do next to make things better.

 

Finally

think about getting some support. If you feel like you’re out of your depth and there’s stuff going on you can’t get straight, call and email and talk to us. We do this all the time, and we’re really good at it.

Author Gam

Gam loves using his skills as a speech therapist to help school-age kids with literacy difficulties (reading, comprehension, sound awareness, the whole bag!) and as a person who used to have a stutter as a child, is interested in stuttering as well. With lots of experience as a speech pathologist working with people with autism and a patient, flexible, client-directed style, Gam is good at making speech therapy fun and not ‘work’. Gam is also the author of a journal article, published in Cortex, Impaired semantic inhibition during lexical ambiguity repetition in Parkinson’s disease. Gam is a registered provider under the FaHCSIA Helping Children with Autism and Better Start programmes. When he isn’t doing something more fun, like therapy, he’s also the director of ChatBox (Brisbane Speech Pathology).

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