I am about to offer you some advice on stuff I don’t know much about, seeing as I’m the mother of two toddlers who have yet to enter any hallowed halls of learning institutions.
Kids, schooling, and teachers.
I don’t know much other than my own illustrious 13-year stint as a student courtesy of public education, that is. But, well, the folks over at Shine from Yahoo know a thing or two about that old threesome constituted of kid/parent/teacher and much like the ménage Ý trois type threesome that immediately comes to mind when you hear the word threesome the kid/teacher/parent relationship can be equally complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be! Yes, advocating for your child is in your parental job description, but you can at least reduce the chance of of any issues arising this school year by following a few words of wisdom. “As with anyone whose service you depend on, it’s in your best interest to avoid coming off as too critical or demanding to your child’s teacher,” Suzanne Tingley, a former teacher, principal, and superintendent, and author of How to Handle Difficult Parents, tells Yahoo.
So, much like never complaining at a fast food joint lest you risk some unsavory bodily fluid in your burger, you should also avoid making certain statements to your kid’s teacher so as not to be labeled a troublemaker. I mean, we wouldn’t want the teacher spitting in your beloved child’s proverbial burger now, would we?
Read onward for 5 things you should never say to your kid’s teacher.
“We’re going on vacation for a week. Can you put together a packet of my daughter’s work so she doesn’t fall behind?”
Dude. Don’t make the teacher do extra work because your family is going on a vacation. As middle school special ed teacher Jan Copithorne tells Yahoo, “It’s a lot of extra work to anticipate everything that will happen in class over a week.” Maybe ask for a general overview of what will be covered while you’re gone and realize your kid will have to play catch-up when you return that’s the price of being out of school.
“My child would never lie. If she says she handed in the paper, she handed it in.”
You can’t win this one. Either your child lied and you can’t deal with that or you’re accusing the teacher of lying or losing the paper. Either way, you don’t want to go there. Even if you’re certain your perfect child isn’t lying Suzanne Tingley says it’s best just to acknowledge a mix-up of some sort. “Amanda says she turned in the paper. I don’t know what happened to it, but I’d hate to have her take a zero. Can she hand in something late?”
“Why did you give Emma this grade?”
Talk to your kid first. Ask her why she received the grade. If she doesn’t know have her ask the teacher in person. Kids should be taking on these kinds of responsibilities anyway, especially once they hit junior high. If you still aren’t satisfied with the response perhaps something like “Can we talk about what Emma can do to bring up her science grade?” is the best approach.
“Henry is acting out because he’s bored in class.”
Way to go! You just insulted the teacher! Former kindergarten teacher Carolyn Bower tells Yahoo, “As a teacher, you spend your life trying to make school interesting and challenging. When someone says class is boring, it means you haven’t done your job.”
Suzanne Tingley says teachers hear this one a lot. Parents often cite it as the reason for a kid’s behavioral problem when really it all comes down to the kid’s lack of self-control in class. However, Tingley says that if you’ve talked to your child and truly believe he isn’t being challenged “steer clear of hurtful generalizations and mention a specific problem and solution: “Henry seems to have the multiplication tables down. Could we give him something more challenging?”
“My son says you don’t give him enough time to finish his tests. I’d like to hear your side of the story.”
Bad approach. By mentioning a side you’re already setting up sides and, as a result, a disagreement. It’s also condescending, like, you’re the great negotiator between two unruly parties who can’t get along. Stick to the facts. “My son seems to be having trouble taking tests. Any thoughts?” Be the information gatherer, not an attacker.
So, now that we’ve got all that out of the way, out with it! What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said to your kid’s teacher? The one thing you wish you could take back?
Click on over to Shine from Yahoo for 5 More Things You Should Never Say To Your Child’s Teacher.
Photo Credit: mat.usc.edu
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