As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s education. You are part of your child’s team, along with teachers, coaches and other educational staff, and during the school year, you may interact with a number of professionals. It is important to share ideas, concerns and openly communicate with your child’s school about what is or is not working for your child’s educational success.
Your CHILL counselors, the mental health professionals based in each Winter Park Consortium School (Winter Park High and the elementary and middle feeder schools), have given a few tips for supporting your child in school and working with teachers.
- Foster relationships with the teachers who work with your child.
- Be informed, and know your options.
- Remember that the teachers also care for your child.
- Don’t wait to check in with the school on your concerns. If something is not resolved, work on it. Teachers may not have as much leverage as you think and are also limited in their time and availability due to the demands of teaching an entire classroom. You may be able to help your child’s teachers resolve an issue much faster by working with them as a team.
- Don’t forget that working with the school can be a very emotional, personal process because this involves your child. It can be easy to get defensive. Try to describe your needs in behavioral terms, not emotional terms.
- Keep things in perspective. Ask yourself, “is what my child is doing typical for his age group, or does this behavior have to do with a bigger issue?”
- Know that what you do is not written in stone. You and the school can change things. You can talk with the teacher or school staff if plans are not working. You can request that things be reevaluated.
- Remember to think of your child first. If your child has a disability, don’t forget it makes up just a small part of your child. Remember your child’s strengths and remind yourself, and the teachers, to praise him or her.
Contact the CHILL counselor at your child’s school for more information on this topic. To find out the name of your counselor, click on the “Schools” tab on the front page of www.healthykidstoday.org.