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Stress-free Ways to Challenge a Teacher’s Methods

Teacher and children in a daycare

Some parents question each and every detail of their child’s preschool education. Others stand back and accept a teacher’s methods, without so much as a peep. So, where do YOU stand in this scenario?

In truth, this isn’t an easy question to answer. I’m not one to step on a teacher’s toes, always assuming instead that they know what they’re doing. I mean, between the two of us, they’re the ones with all the training and experience, right?

And yet…

These are my kids we’re talking about here. Don’t I have a say in their education? Absolutely! So, now the question is: how should parents approach a teacher should they have an issue with something?

There’s a post entitled “You Don’t Agree With Your Child’s Teacher? You Need to Speak Up” over on the yummymummyclub.ca blog which touches this very subject. And the best part? It’s a really funny read! Written by teacher, blogger and fellow parent Erin Chawla, it touches upon some great points for parents to keep in mind. Not only do we get a parent’s perspective through this piece, but we also get to hear what her “teacher brain” feels about things. As we all know, there’re two sides to a coin. What resonated with me were these two main points:

1- Yes, parents should speak to teachers as soon as there is a concern. Do it early. Do it often.

2- There’s nothing wrong with challenging a teacher about what’s going on in your child’s class. However, PLEASE be respectful.

Above all things, the lines of communication between parents and teachers must be kept open. It’s tough being a teacher to many little people all clamoring to get attention, demanding to be heard. Why not pave the way for a successful school year by partnering up with your child’s preschool teacher? Team-up with them to tackle any problems that may arise or worries you may have. Being defensive off the bat may not be the most diplomatic approach…so try to keep these other helpful hints in mind when talking with your child’s teacher:

Mind Your Tone

When discussing a problem with your child’s teacher, try to keep in mind the good-news-first approach. Start with a positive comment about your child’s classroom experience (i.e.: “Julie absolutely loved last week’s butterfly project. That was such a fantastic way to introduce them to nature and science!”) before bringing up any concerns. Positive comment equals a nice pat on the back. Nice pat on the back equals happy (and receptive) teacher.

Ask for a Teacher’s Perspective

Don’t you wish that you could be a fly on the wall of your kid’s class? Well, until scientists perfect the transmogrification process, why not use the next best thing? A “teacher’s-eye” view! Instead of relying solely on what you observe and what your child tells you happens in school (i.e.: “Jonah seems to have become aggressive since starting preschool. I feel that he needs more stimulation.”), ask for a teacher’s perspective. They spend a huge, chunk of the day with your child, so they may be seeing something that you’re not aware of.

Offer a Parent’s Perspective

Let’s be blunt here, shall we? No teacher likes a micromanaging mom. While you have the best interest of your single child to consider, they have an entire classroom full of great minds to mold. Having said that, teachers DO want to hear from parents. Remember, teachers and parents are on the same team, so, again, effective communication is a must.