6) Be reasonable if there is a legitimate concern. If you’ve followed the suggestion above and talked to the teacher and still cannot come to a resolution you find acceptable, than inform the teacher that you’d like to speak to their administrator. A little secret: the principal does not ALWAYS observe the teacher at hand. In fact, there is almost always a Vice Principal who is a teacher’s direct supervisor. That is the person you want to speak to. Calmly explain to the teacher that you want to set up a meeting with them, the administrator, and if you feel it appropriate, your child. Do not blindside the teacher by showing up unexpectedly, demanding to observe their class right that instant, or expecting that the teacher can take time out of the middle of the school day to discuss your child.
7.) Have your child speak to us. This tip is especially for students older than about third or fourth grade. If they -- or you -- are concerned about their grade, tell your child to come see us BEFORE you get involved. Nothing chaps my hide more than entering a parent meeting to see a student who thinks nothing of flapping their gums during silent reading or writing sitting stoically in the principal’s office with their parent, waiting to have THEM ask me why their kid got an F on their assignment. If your child needs help, have them ask us on lunch or before or after school. If they don’t understand a grade, discuss it with them and arm them with mature, well-thought out, specific questions to ask us about why their grade is what it is. But please, please, PLEASE don’t fight your student’s battles for them. Ask them to have us clarify, and if you’re still not satisfied, contact us. Often times, we can explain something to the student that they may have missed, or help them earn a higher grade. This way, you don’t have to be involved at all, your child’s relationship with their teacher improves and they learn how to handle their own issues. Win-win-win.
8.) Remember that your child is NOT always an angel. Parents, this may be tough to swallow, but you know that sweet, angelic little cherub you birthed and love to bits? Um, they may not always be so adorable when they are away from you. I caught a student writing a very obscene and just plain nasty note last year, and even when presented with the evidence, her mom didn’t believe it was her and was sure her daughter was “framed” and that I had some vendetta against her child... until she caught wind of her inappropriate MySpace and saw some other notes in her daughter’s day planner. Oops. The good news? Most of us teachers believe that kids are good at heart, and just need a little help along the way. We don’t want to see your child fail any more than you do. If we report bad behavior, it’s usually out of concern, not genuine dislike. We aren’t going to brand your child a loser and think less of them. You get a different side of your child at home, and we get a different side of them at school.