The school year will soon be upon us, and for many of us this means having children in public schools. For parents with children in elementary school, this means your child or children will have to compete with twenty-five to thirty other kids for the teacher’s time and attention. For students in middle and high school, this may mean competing with the up to 160+ students a teacher sees in the course of a day.
Too often students who are quiet get overlooked in favor of their more boisterous counterparts. But with a few strategies, you and your child can get valuable attention from her teachers.
What your child can do
Get the best seat in the class
Most teachers seat students alphabetically by last name, but most are also willing to break their seating rule if a student approaches them on the first day and requests a seat near the front of the room. Not only will this assure your child of never missing a beat in the lesson, the teacher also learns her name faster since it is out of place.
Ask lots of questions
If your child is too shy to ask questions during class, then encourage her to ask questions after class.
Take advantage of office hours
There are a few periods a day when a teacher is free. Know what those times are and drop by for extra help or just to say hello once in a while. Taking the time to get the extra help will pay off academically, and being friendly helps the teacher to get to know your child better.
What you can do
Make first contact
Contact all of your child’s teachers to introduce yourself and let them know of any concerns you may have about your child’s aptitude in their subject. Don’t wait for something to go wrong or for parent/teacher conferences before you first speak with her teacher. A proactive parent speaks volumes to a teacher, and makes them interested in your child.
Introduce yourself to the school’s parent coordinator
If your child needs services that you feel she is not getting, get in touch with the school’s parent coordinator. These staff members are a wealth of knowledge about the school and can be great allies.
Become active in the PTA
It’s no secret that the best public schools have the most parental involvement. Parental involvement and student success go hand in hand, so join the PTA. Keep abreast of what is going on in the school and volunteer your time for events that are held after school or weekends, such as plays and shows. Parents who are an active part of the school community become like honorary staff members, and their kids also become looked upon as valuable members of the school community.
Remember, you are your child’s best advocate.
Make sure that you become a presence (even if it’s not physical) in your child’s school and in the mind of her teachers. When you develop a network of teacher allies who will nurture and teach your child, you are ensuring that she has the best means for success.