So yesterday I had a parents meeting at my son’s school and I also had to pick up his term 3 report, as school closes this Friday. My little champ got an average of 80-100% in all subjects (except Afrikaans, haha, I can live with that). That is the bragging part, done!
So why do I want to vent? You might remember in my post about change, I mentioned that he had changed schools in July this year. I did this because of the negative changes I started noticing in him when he started his grade 1 year. He lost confidence and would always tell me that he’s not good at anything. He would want to spend most weekends indoors because his teacher told him to “work harder”. He was made to sit in the front of the class and I had to attend extra English and Maths lessons with him every Tuesday morning. He was referred to a speech therapist and occupational therapy was recommended too. To top it all off, at the end of the first term, his report basically started that he would struggle to make it to the end of the second term. The constant negative feedback from his teacher made me question whether he should really be in grade 1… but I know my child well. I know what his strengths and weaknesses are. Yes, I’m not a teacher, but I know his potential and abilities. I saw all the damage that was being done to my child in that environment and decided to change schools immediately.
What if I didn’t have the option to change schools after the 2nd term? What if I didn’t take the chance to give my child a shot at being under the guidance of a teacher that believes in him? What if I didn’t give him a chance to achieve such great academic results and agreed to hold him back in grade 1 another year? What if there are other mothers out there who just take what teachers tell them as the gospel truth, because they have put their trust in our educators? It really upsets me, so I want to encourage any mother who constantly gets negative feedback about their child’s progress to not only trust their instincts but to not be afraid to get a second opinion if you feel the need to do so.
I am by no means encouraging you not to take feedback on your child’s developmental needs from your their teacher. I’m not saying that some therapies are bad. I’m saying that you should get to know your child better. Spend time reading and doing homework with them to see where the gaps are for yourself. If there are major personality changes, don’t ignore those signs!
Most importantly, we need to appreciate our positive, hands-on and open-minded teachers more! They have one of the most difficult jobs in the world after all.
Things you could do to build a good relationship with your child’s teacher:
- At the beginning of the year, discuss your child’s interests, development areas and important family issues with them.
- Compliment them on any new initiatives you might notice or based on feedback from your child. Send a thank you note from time to time.
- Find out what their preferred communication method is: email, homework diary, sms, etc. Give important feedback as early as possible, don’t let issues build up.
- Don’t discuss any issues you have with the teacher with, or in front of your child. Show respect at all times.
- Get involved with projects, meetings and initiatives run by the school. Volunteer to help when your schedule allows.
What have your good and bad experiences been? How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher?
Modern Zulu Mom