What to Do When Your Child Isn’t Getting What They Need at School

Everyone has stories about bad teachers; the ones who don’t care, who aren’t capable or are just skating by because they have tenure, and ones who are just mean and abusive. Fortunately, there are lots of excellent teachers working to help your child succeed. Yet even when your child has teachers who are committed, skilled, and kind, it is possible that your child’s needs aren’t being met. What do you do when you feel your child is falling through the cracks? Some children might need extra support in a particular subject. Some have different learning styles or abilities that can make a traditional classroom setting challenging. Sometimes a classroom is overcrowded and there’s no extra help. Classes may have students with a broad range of skills and abilities, making it a challenge for any teacher to bring each child to their maximum potential. There are instances where a teacher believes one thing about a student — that they’re at a lower reading level, for example — that may not be accurate. That teacher may be basing their belief on reports from previous teachers of specific tests. The opposite can also be true: a teacher may think that a student doesn’t need help or already has some of the basics under their belt. In this case, the teacher may give the student added homework or responsibilities that can feel overwhelming. There are many options you can take in order to help your child get the education they need. Some parents will go to the school and voice their concerns every time a child appears to have more homework than they can handle or if their child complains about the teacher in any way. Parents may go so far as to insist their child be transferred to a different class or a different school that’s further from home or even a private school. Other parents handle things at home with their student. They might coach their child, help out with homework, or perhaps guide their child on how they might better get along with the teacher. Parents can help children learn different ways to ask for help in the classroom. These parents may encourage their children to solve the problem on their own or to stick it out. Parents can even throw up their hands and just ignore the teacher and the situation, believing there’s nothing to be done to make it better. Before deciding what approach to take, consider tapping into your Internal Guidance System (IGS). There may be times when your child doesn’t want you to make a fuss and yet your concern is propelling you towards the school. Conversely, your child may want you to rescue them from the situation and you aren’t sure that’s the right solution. Let your IGS help you determine if you might be overreacting or not concerned enough. Your IGS can help you feel what the right direction to take is, given your student and the exact issue at hand whether it’s a single event, a chronic pattern, an acute, or benign situation. You might consider having your child tap into their IGS as well. This can help them better understand the right path for themselves, as well as possible awareness of what’s happening in the classroom. Having an open conversation with your child that is appropriate for theirs age and ability can be very helpful. If you both come to an agreement about what the goal is, you’ll have a better chance of being able to achieve that with the teacher and school. Even if that doesn’t work out, the two of you can chart the right course is no matter which way that takes you.

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