Helping Parents Help Their Child
October 12, 2009
Parents, in many cases, want to know how to help their student succeed in your class. Finding common ground with parents in ways to help their child will alleviate many problems and conflicts as the year proceeds. Parent-teacher conferences are critical to establishing this common ground.
Most times my student attends with their parents. During the conference, I ask the student direct questions, leading him to explain to his own parents what he is doing in the class. This takes the focus off teaching styles, content or even communication issues and puts it squarely on the shoulders of the student, who has ultimate responsibility for his own success.
We then talk together about how to set high goals and achieve them or about how to adjust attitude and behavior to achieve success. I let them know the easiest way to contact me (which is through email) and assure them of quick responses.
Teaching is already difficult enough without power struggles, which we seldom win. Unless there is a major behavioral problem or a moral issue at stake, you should be able to find common ground with parents — if nothing else, there is always your concern and caring for their child and your desire to help him succeed in your class and in life.