If your child is academically on level, doesn’t create classroom conflict and is too often ignored this article is for you.
As parents we face an incredible array of issues with our children. They never seem to end. A common one is that for a variety of reasons they often don’t express what’s on their minds — no matter how great the relationship we share.
It requires vigilance and stamina to make sure your child’s needs are being met. Aside from the home, nowhere is this more important than in school.
This article is about the ‘overlooked child.’ The youngster who sits quietly in class, does well academically and rarely raises a fuss.
This little one needs just as much attention as all the others. It’s about the need for recognition and appreciation.
As much as education has changed through the years, it’s basically stayed the same. Teachers are overworked, often underpaid, have too many students and are either very dedicated, mediocre or just not very good.
With the advent of the common core curriculum we’re experiencing a loss in the human touch of education — socialization. Science, Math and Computers are important — but so are emotions and personal expression.
Communication is the key to all successful relationships. In the family creating a communication protocol is vital. And it is with your child’s school as well.
For our purposes by protocol I simply mean developing an effective way to communicate that encourages others to want to reciprocate in a similar manner.
Teachers respect interested and understanding parents who want to be involved in their child’s education while not being overbearing.
I remember years ago sitting in a conference where a parent said to me “I don’t know what I’m going to do during the holiday… all the kids will be home.” This mother had three children.
The average teacher has between twenty and thirty children — many of whom are clamoring for immediate attention.
So what happens? In the natural ebb and flow of things, the child who is acting out or in scholastic need gets the lion’s share of attention.
The quiet youngster occasionally gets a pat on the back but by and large is ignored.
It’s understandable how and why this happens — it’s unacceptable that it does!
All children need attention — as do adults as well. The difference is that many of us older folks are more adept at getting our needs met. Sometimes!
Elementary kids are just acquiring the skills of socializing, communicating and learning to seek out help.
Everyone needs and must have positive reinforcement. Simply getting an “A” on a paper and good marks for behavior is not enough.
Think about your own life. How many times when you were young did you desire positive feedback? How about now as an adult?
How can you help your child’s teacher become the most positive influence of which they are capable?
Here’s where you as a parent or grandparent step in.
- Observe your child — their moods — what interests them — if they are returning home from school seeming very happy, lethargic or depressed.
- Talk to your youngster about their school day. Sometimes it’s easiest if you ask about a particular subject or a ‘special’ like Gym, Music, Art — even lunch. Get a good feeling for how your child is experiencing their hours away from home.
- Make an appointment or two for visiting the class — schedule different hours of the day. Be observant of what’s happening in the room, but don’t be judgmental. Simply thank the teacher when you are ready to leave.
- If you have the time offer to volunteer even an hour every other week. You’ll be amazed at how much data you’ll pick up. You might offer something as simple as reading a book. Or, if you have a special talent, contribute it!
- Watch your child while you are in the classroom. See how engaged they are. Look at the expression on their face. It will provide you with a wealth of information.
- Now here’s the really important part. If you see that the teacher rarely communicates with your child, ask for an appointment to sit down and discuss the situation. Don’t wait for parent teacher conferences.
A dedicated teacher will appreciate that you’ve set an appointment as opposed to stopping them in the hall or when they are on their way out for the day.
In the meeting explain that you understand the teacher is being pulled in all directions. However, indicate that you notice because your child requires little attention, you perceive that they are often overlooked. Handle this as an observation not a criticism.
Most often teachers don’t realize they are ‘ignoring’ your child. That’s not their intention. So caught up under the pressures of the core curriculum and disruptive children as well as those with special learning needs, your child often isn’t on their radar.
Making the teacher aware of this will be appreciated by any dedicated educator and will result in more attention being paid to your child.
That’s your goal! You want your youngster to feel validated and recognized. When this happens it will set the stage for positive educational experiences for years to come.
Also, remember that a teacher has your child for about five and one half hours a day. Divide that by 28 children and you’ll begin to see how little face time your child and teacher share.
Every minor positive interaction is a gift that keeps on giving.
Most importantly, remember that good communication begins at home. Create that communication protocol when your child is very young and you’ll find that self expression, confidence, empowerment and great relationships will develop naturally.
I’d like to add a personal note that I’m sure some readers will relate to. Teachers can make a lasting impression on a child’s life.
To this day I recall with incredible fondness two teachers Miss Dorothea Hartnett & Miss Janice Hostel. They positively influenced my life, still are and to whom I owe unending gratitude.
Perhaps you can contribute to a classroom atmosphere that will allow your child’s teacher to do the same for them.
Children grow up so quickly — Tomorrow your child will be a teen — Don’t miss out on all the fun — Enjoy the early years. They pass in a flash!
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You might also like: Three Important Steps to Raising a Happy Child
Photo: Flickr/Hugh Guill