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Parents and teachers have kids and the desire for their success in common! But success depends upon good communication. Just as educators know, “There’s a problem with your child” is not a positive way to initiate contact with a parent, certain statements by parents can also serve as non starters in conversations with teachers.

Jimmy needs extra credit to raise his grade     

Extra credit may raise the grade but hide the fact that learning hasn’t occurred or that there is a problem with effort or organization. Also, many teachers believe that extra credit is “extra” and should be given to challenge students that have successfully completed required work.

I was bad at math when I was his age

This statement on its own may allow a child to think that it’s okay to be unsuccessful. But if a parent continues with, “and this is what I did to overcome that challenge…” a positive outcome can occur.

Tommy lost his permission slip, so use this written note  

Aside from the opportunity to teach Tommy a valuable lesson in responsibility, the official form contains all the necessary information and “legalese” required by the school.

Have Mary stay in for recess to finish her homework 

Recess is a break for students and teachers. It is often the only opportunity to contact parents or prepare for future lessons. Such a homework completion plan also prevents students from developing good organization and study skills.

Jane has been bullied for a month so I talked to the principal 

A hands-on principal is one of the hallmarks of a successful school, but the teacher is still the one that is closest to the action. If she isn’t aware of a problem, solutions can’t be reached, and going to her boss not only indicates a lack of confidence, but puts her in a difficult position. Not an atmosphere conducive to good communication.

For Jack’s birthday treat, I’m bringing a cake, candles, ice cream, soda, pizza and his favorite video 

With today’s focus on good nutrition, concern with food allergies, and increasing demands on academic time, keep in mind that while teachers understand the importance of acknowledging those special days, the classroom is not the place for the main event.

Mary has too much homework with volleyball, forensics and cheerleading  

While extra-curriculars help to create well rounded individuals and are important when it’s time to complete high school and college applications, school work needs to come first. Then, depending upon the child, extra activities should be added.

I don’t have time because I’m a working mom  

Many educators are working parents and share the same time constraints and family obligations. But they also know that the most successful students are the ones with parents that support them by taking an interest in homework and participating in school events.

Jean Eueris a freelance writer and educator with 25 years of classroom experience. She lives in Delafield and shares three amazing grandchildren with her husband.

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