Published on April 12, 2016 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
My daughter was having a tough time with math in the sixth grade. She’d done poorly on a test and was having difficulties with her homework. Since we realized this two or three weeks prior to parent/teacher conferences, my wife and I waited until then to address it with her teacher.
At the conference, we learned my daughter wasn’t asking for help. She was too self-conscious to ask questions in front of the class. We were relieved to identify the issue and that we could easily help our daughter address it. But I also wondered if we should have reached out to the teacher sooner?
When Should We Contact Their Teachers?
If our kids tell us they’re having a social issue at school, being bullied for example, the need to contact our kids’ teachers is obvious. When it’s an academic issue, it may not be as clear. After all, a kid having rough patches with schoolwork is expected.
So what signs tell us it’s time to actively engage our kids’ teachers? Since my wife is a Montessori teacher with more than 20 years experience teaching six- to nine-year-olds, I asked her for some advice.
1. Bad mood swing
Is your child suddenly upset about school? Do they say they don’t want to go or that they hate school? If your child suddenly gets negative about school, it’s worth contacting their teacher. The ultimate reason causing the mood swing could be social or academic, but it’s worth finding out the cause.
2. Sudden grade changes
Our kids are bound to have a bad test now and again. This shows them, and us, what they need to work on. But if you see a sudden change in their grades overall, whether it’s one subject or multiple, you can work with the teacher to find out why and decide the best way to help them move forward.
3. Complains homework is too easy or too hard
Few students like homework. But if your kids complain their homework is too easy, and they’re bored, or their homework is too hard, the teacher can help determine if it’s a temporary issue or if it’s a potentially bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Which Teacher Should We Contact?
When you do reach out, it’s best to choose the immediate, most relevant, teacher. Going to the math teacher for math problems, for example, ensures you can identify whether or not there’s an issue quickly and easily.
If you’re unsure about reaching out, or if you aren’t sure which teacher you should contact? It’s better to call or email the teacher you think can best address your questions. This will ultimately allow you to determine if anything is wrong and, if there is, what actions you can take together to help your kid succeed.