Partnering With Your Child’s Teacher

As the school year is ending, are you satisfied with your child’s progress? Do you feel that your child is working at grade level, or do you have concerns? If you are not satisfied with his/her progress, if you have concerns or may even suspect your child has a learning disability, there are some steps that you can take to insure that they will have a better year next year. Communication with teachers is a crucial part of their success.

Most teachers desire open communication with parents. They want your child to succeed and work diligently to do the best they can. Keep in mind that they have a classroom full of children with a wide range of needs and abilities. They are unable to provide one-on-one instruction for your child. They have schedules and curriculum to follow that does not give them much time to even provide small-group instruction.

Maintaining open communication with your child’s teacher will benefit your child. Do not be worried or embarrassed to express your concerns. Good teachers will welcome the communication. Meet with the teacher and share any concerns and observations you have. Does your child have a prior diagnosis of a disability? Make sure you share this with your teacher and any medication that your child may be on. Share the things that you see your child struggling with and anything that you have observed that helps. Come up with a mutual plan that will help your child to succeed.

If you are concerned that your child has a learning disability and you have not received a diagnosis, it is your right to request testing. Teacher’s are required to have a certain amount of documentation to request testing for a student. This can be cumbersome and time consuming. You, however, as a parent can request testing and the school is required, by law, to accommodate you. First, make your request to the teacher. If the teacher does not follow through with your request in a timely manner, then make your request to the principal. The school is required by law to test your child at your request.

What should you do if your child’s teacher is resistant to communicating and working with you? Then you may need to go to the principal and request a new teacher for your child. Do your best to work with the teacher. However, do not allow an entire school year to pass with a teacher who is unwilling to work with you. The school should take your concerns seriously. Do not be intimidated into just going along with a failing situation. Be your child’s advocate.

Again, most teachers desire open communication with parents to better serve their students. Your concerns are valid. Be wary of the statement “They will grow out of it”. Studies show that students who struggle in early elementary grades go on to struggle throughout high school. Early intervention is crucial. Part of that early intervention is open and good communication with teachers. You are partners, after all, in your child’s education.



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