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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

3 Signs It’s Time to Talk With Your Child’s Teacher

From NCLD.org
The National Center for Learning Disabilities

By Geri Coleman Tucker
February 4, 2014

At a Glance
  • Frequent homework issues could be a sign of trouble at school.
  • A change in your child’s attitude about school could be another telltale sign.
  • Communicating your concerns early can sometimes head off bigger problems.

Have you ever wanted to call or email your child’s teacher but were afraid of being a bother? Don’t worry! Gone are the days of waiting for a parent-teacher conference, a PTA meeting or a chance meeting in the school hallway to touch base with the teacher.

  School websites, social networks, email and texting have made it easier to stay in contact. And communicating early can sometimes head off bigger problems and enable you to build a solid relationship with the school.

Here are three situations when it’s wise to reach out:

Your child’s attitude changes. Maybe your child—who used to like school—now throws a tantrum before getting on the bus. Or maybe he’s been expressing negative feelings about school in other ways. He might be having trouble academically or socially. The teacher can be your eyes and ears at school and help identify what’s going on.

If the new behavior is evident at school, you and the teacher can talk about whether it happens at certain times of day or during certain subjects. Knowing this mightgive you deeper insight into why your child’s attitude has changed. The teacher can also ask other faculty and staff to keep an eye out.

There are frequent homework issues. Is your child struggling for hours to get math assignments done? Or does he frequently forget the books and handouts he needs for doing his homework? The teacher will be able to help you figure out if your child needs extra help in a subject or organizational help.

You don’t understand the teacher’s notes. If your teacher’s comments on your child’s papers aren’t clear to you, then it’s worthwhile to ask the teacher for clarification. For example, the teacher may have a certain way she wants multiplication problems calculated and shown on the page. Understanding the teacher’s instructions and feedback for your child will enable you work together as a team.

The more you and the teacher collaborate, the better for everyone—most of all, your child.

Key Takeaways
  • Email is often a good way to communicate with your child’s teacher.
  • Asking the teacher to clarify something can help you work together as a team.
  • Don’t let problems fester—ask questions sooner rather than later.

Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today. She also writes the Asperger Ascent blog. Tucker is based in the Washington, D.C., area.

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