I was a middle school and high school principal for 10 years. During that time, I saw many parents who allowed teachers or principals to make all the decisions about their child’s learning, with little or no input from the parent. I sometimes had to step in for the parent, to ensure the teacher was being professional and addressing the parent’s questions and concerns. Many of those parents probably grew up hearing the same thing that I heard from my dad: “Scott, the teacher is always right. Don’t expect me to go to the school and take up for you. The teacher is the teacher.” In my experience, parents are often the ones who best understand their child’s strengths, challenges and learning style. As a parent, your commitment and your voice is essential to the success of your child’s learning journey.
Building Negotiation Skills
In my last blog, “The Art of Negotiation,” I suggested one statement and three questions all parents should explore with their child’s teachers and principal. You should begin by saying, “No one in the school knows my child better than I do.” Next, you should ask three questions about their child’s progress: “What do we want my child to learn? How will we know if they’ve learned it? And what will we do if they haven’t learned it, or if they have learned it, what’s next?” This is why Matt and I launched “Negotiation November.” We all need to build our negotiation skills.
Parents: You’ve Got This!
Parents need to remember that they were their child’s first teacher. As my wife and I did with our four kids, you taught your kids to walk, to talk, to poop in a potty, to dress and tie their shoes, to share and be kind to others, and much more. Many of you also taught your kids to read, spell and count before they started school.
When their child goes off to school, many parents think they should step back and allow others the power to decide how their children will attain new knowledge and skills, believing that the professionals know best. The reality is that with large class sizes, little preparation time, and curriculum that emphasizes standardized tests over actual skills, teachers in most schools are not positioned to develop an individualized learning approach that will help your child thrive
Parents as Teachers
Today, many parents have again become their child’s teacher, because of COVID-19. Most struggle with this until they find tools to guide them in doing the job of the teacher. Here’s how to get started:
- Begin taking assessment of your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses
- Start searching the web and reaching out to Matt and me here at The Education Game to help identify learning resources that will help build reading, writing, problem-solving, and character skills in your child
- Begin thinking about how you will determine whether your son or daughter has learned what they are supposed to learn.
- Develop a plan of what you will do next if your child is having difficulties meeting those learning goals
- Search out others to exchange ideas and help support you in your work – consider friends, neighbors, family members and older siblings
- Consider joining with other families to form a fantastic learning pod (my next blog topic is titled “How You Build a Learning Pod”). It might even cause you and other families to forget those places called schools.
All of this is achievable, and The Education Game stands ready to support you, your families and, most importantly, your child. It’s time for you to move forward, with or without those places called schools, to take your rightful place as your son or daughter’s most important learning leader.
It will be hard work, but potty training was hard work, too (talk about “The Art of Negotiation”)!
Let’s get going!
THE PROMISE and THE PLAN
Lastly, please consider joining us for a free and unique webinar titled, “THE PROMISE AND THE PLAN” on November 14th, 10am (CST). Information and sign up below.