You may know the book, “How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen”, but this article from Life Coach Rebecca Pintre looks at how to talk, so your child’s TEACHER will listen.
Many parents find approaching their child’s teacher to be quite an intimidating experience, especially when the subject matter relates to their or another child’s bad behaviour, bullying or even a complaint with the school. Here are my top tips for talking to your child’s teacher.
- Prepare. Yeah, I know, we always give this advice in these kinds of articles, but there’s a good reason: it’s good advice. You can take notes with you, so prepare by jotting down the answers to a few questions: Why am I here? What are the key points I want to make? What would be the ideal outcome from this conversation? Having a clear idea on the purpose of the conversation will help you feel more confident and help you stay on topic.
- Ask questions. And as part of your preparation maybe list some of the questions you would like answers to. There are two sides to every story and your child will have a different take on the issue from their teacher. I am not saying your child is lying, or wrong, just that it is worth bearing in mind that we all see things differently.
- Remember you are an adult now. You are the teacher’s equal, and do not need to feel intimidated by their role as teacher or head teacher. You are no longer a pupil, you can’t be put in detention, or whatever part of school life you may have feared. Remind yourself, often, that this is a conversation between two grown-ups.
- Go in with an open mind. The school honestly does have your child’s best interests at heart and will work with you to find a solution to whatever the issue is. They may suggest solutions you hadn’t thought of, or have procedures for dealing with certain things in certain ways. Or, as mentioned above, they may just have a different perspective on the issue. You don’t have to agree with everything they say, but keep an open mind all the same.
- Stay calm. You might be furious, and you have every right to tell them you are furious. But remaining calm and polite will get you further than losing your temper. Avoid blaming, shouting and, it goes without saying, swearing. It is hard to remain calm sometimes when we feel the wellbeing of our child is at stake. Name your feelings: frustrated, angry, upset, worried, and by all means share this with the teacher. Ask for a moment to collect your thoughts if you need it and use that time to take a deep breath and jot down your thoughts and feelings.
Wanting the best for our child is part of being a parent. School can be a troubling time, full of challenges and stress for our children. Building a constructive relationship with the people in charge of their education and well-being for a good chunk of their day may not always be easy, but will be rewarding for everyone involved.