Meeting with the teacher can be overwhelming worn-out mommas. You might have had some bad experiences yourself in school and they’re all coming back to you. Your child might be really struggling connecting with the teacher or with the material.
Read-on to find some tips to focus you before, during and after. You got this momma!
Meeting With The Teacher: Before You Get There
Practice Keeping Your Emotions in Check
Super difficult topic to start with, I know. Your feelings about school and the teacher are strong because you’re a momma bear and all about protecting.
Try to think of you and the teacher being on the same side. Their goal is to teach your child and have them learn what they need to accomplish by the end of the year. Your goal is for your child to learn what they need to know successfully and move on to the next grade.
Neither one of you want to repeat the year.
Prepare Your Thoughts
You’ve seen some progress reports or a report card before it’s time to schedule the meeting. You may have also had some calls or emails home about specific concerns.
Take that information and make a list of your top things to discuss. Having the list will help with keeping your emotions in check along with having a sense of control if that’s a struggle for you when working with the teacher.
Believe 50% of What Your Child Reports
One helpful thing to do is remember to believe 50% of what your child says about their teacher. Dial back their dramatic flair on how things happen in the classroom.
Trust me, as a former teacher, your child is also telling them stories about you you’ll want their them to half believe.
I’m not calling your child a liar, I’m calling all children embellishers. It’s natural for them to share their experience based on how they were feeling and not necessarily verbatim on what happened. They also don’t always listen to the full story and only report on what they heard which can leave key information out.
Meeting With The Teacher: At The Conference
Start With Something Positive
The teacher might already bring up successes that your child is having. If they don’t, try to share something that they are enjoying about school and ask the teacher what they seem to be doing well.
You need to hear that their struggles don’t make up their whole day and the teacher might also need that reminder.
Ask What You Can Be Doing At Home
Remember the tip about trying to think of yourselves on the same side? Being the same team means everyone does their part.
The teacher has a small amount of time to teach each lesson to 20+ kids in the classroom. Reinforcement at home could be the thing that helps your kiddo succeed.
You might walk away with an assignment to read with them every night or they might offer some practice apps to start using.
Advocate For Your Kiddo
You’ve done your part to keep calm and focused. Things have started on a good note with positivity about your struggler. You proved that you’re a team player by asking what you can do at home.
Now is your time to talk about what is happening in the classroom. You can break some tension by saying that you agree to believe 50% of what your kiddo is sharing at home if they agree to do the same. Have a laugh about a story or two and get down to business.
Start your statement by saying “my child feels like…” and share the concern.
- Jimmy feels like working on the math sheet in the classroom where he can see people finishing before him makes him panic. He just finishes it without really thinking about the answers.
- Sally feels overwhelmed when she is asked to answer in front of the class when she doesn’t volunteer. She is really unsure of herself since she struggles with the material.
Using “my child feels” statements help you not accuse the teacher of doing something wrong which will automatically put them on the defense, ending the chances of leaving on a good note.
Brainstorm Ways To Help
Ask if there are ideas the teacher has to help with the feelings that you just shared.
Maybe Jimmy can head to another room to finish his math sheet or come back at the end of the day for 5 minutes alone with the teacher to work on the assignment?
Is it possible that the teacher take a minute with Sally to tell her which question she’d like her to be ready to answer during class and give her a chance to ask her a question about the material beforehand?
Thank The Teacher
No matter how things went, a little emotional or heated, leave it on the table and thank the teacher for their time. If this is difficult for you, think of it as a power play. You are in control by remaining positive from start to finish in the conference.
Meeting With The Teacher: After The Conference
Share A Positive Summary With Your Child
Let them know you had a nice visit with the teacher. Comment on the successes you discussed. Tell them about the ways you are going to help them at home and what you both came up with to help at school.
Do not say anything negative about the experience to blow away the idea that everyone is a team in this situation.
Cry About What Happened If Needed
It might have been a tough meeting while you worked hard to keep emotions out. You may have had to listen to a teacher vent to you about this little being that you love with all that you have. You might have learned that your child needs extra special attention to make it through the day.
Cry it out in private worn-out momma! You deserve to let the tension go instead of bottling it up any longer. The release of all of those feelings will also help you focus on moving forward.
Follow-Up And Follow-Through
Send the teacher an email once again thanking them for their time and summarize what you are ready to help with at home along with what’s been agreed upon for next steps at school.
Set up a time to revisit how things are going if that wasn’t scheduled during the conference.
If things don’t seem to be moving in the right direction and there is conflict with the teacher, ask if you can have a meeting with more people added to the team. Approach it that maybe more heads in the room can help you both brainstorm on how to best help Jimmy or Sally.
Looking for more help?
If your kiddo is struggling with reading, check out Struggling Readers in Your Home and How To Help! It’s a two-parter to get you on the road to helping your guy or girl get some success under their belt.