I am a parent of four wonderful boys—the youngest will graduate from high school this year. That’s thirteen years of education for each of them—52 years altogether. The overall experiences they had were great. But every now and again I had a question or a concern about how much one of them was learning. So I know how hard it can be to ask a question or advocate for your child. You worry that you might rock the boat or cause a problem. You think, “What if the teacher just thinks I’m a pushy parent?” Will the teacher feel it’s personal if I say my child is disengaged in the class work? How do I ask if the teacher will please pre-test my child to find out what he/she already knows…because through conversations at home I know his frustration is growing to the point that it impacting his behavior?
I’ve had a few of these conversations over the years. The truth is most of them went well—some did not. What made the difference between the ones that were more productive than others? I think it had to do with my approach. Over the years I learned these valuable lessons: