Kids, Teachers and School - Solving the Problems
Nov 3, 2008 Career Development 2552 Views
Summer is almost over and school will be starting soon in most places around the United States. Due to the current changes in our economic structure here in the U.S., many of us have had to relocate due to company transfers or loss of a job.
Changes are very hard on children when they have to leave their old school and friends. Trying to fit into a new circle of friends can be heart breaking for many children and in some cases lead to friendships that you do not desire your child to make.
What can a parent do to make the transition easier? As a parent our first impulse is to make things better as fast as we can. Mostly for our own peace of mind, but that solves very little. Children face back to school problems frequently and it is not all bad. Facing a problem and solving it is good for a child's self esteem, but many times it is a parent's job to lead the child in the right direction.
Helping your child adjust to a new school and new friendships takes more than a parent saying "it will just take some time, be patient." Sometimes during that "patient" mode the wrong kind of friends can appear and then what was a molehill becomes a giant mountain.
In our grownup world we sometimes forget the importance of "having someone to sit with at lunch," or who will I play with at recess, even finding a buddy to work with on a school project can be devastating to a new kid on the block.
This is where a little role playing on the part of a parent comes in handy. The most important thing a parent can do is to make the child understand that it is up to the child to be friendly first. Help the child make a list of things that friendly people do, like smiling, a cheerful attitude, give compliments, join in games with enthusiasm, lose gracefully and to try speaking first.
Each child is basically insecure, the new child is afraid "they won't like me" and the old child "thinks the new one is stuck up because they don't speak." Both are afraid to take the first steps and so you, as a parent, have to help your child take the first step. A little coaching in how to start a conversation can make all the difference in how your child begins a new school year.
Instill in your child the thought that a smile can go a long way in helping other children feel at ease around a newcomer. Make certain your child participates in after school activities, this not only helps a child make friends with classmates, but can lead to many friendships outside the classroom.
What do you do when your child cries, "my teacher hates me?"
Generally it is not a true statement and most parents should just listen and try talking it out with the child to see what makes him/her think so. Young children have a tendency to over react to change. A new teacher has new ways of teaching, the possibility that last year's teacher was a more gentle teacher and gave out a lot of stickers and smiley faces may make a child think all teachers are like that.
Advancing grades mean harder work and the possibility that the child is having problems with the work and is getting a lower grade than before may make him/her think the teacher hates them.
If a child is acting up in class, they may also confuse discipline as a sign of dislike. If your child's grades seem low or if discipline seems to be the problem, I strongly advise the parent(s) to make an appointment to see the teacher and discuss the problem.
The important thing here is to not accuse the teacher of being unfair to your child, but to ask her to explain what it is she thinks the situation is.
Ask questions as to "what can I do to help my child do better in your class?" "My child seems very unhappy this school year, have you noticed anything going on in class that is adding to his/her unhappiness?" By asking questions you are not putting the teacher on the defensive and he/she maybe far more comfortable in talking to you.
Develop a bond with the teacher if your child is having problems, a teacher spends at least 5 to 7 hours a day with a child and has much insight as to what is going on. If you are amenable to working with the teacher much, can be accomplished.
The work is too hard for me or I have too much homework. What can a parent do?
If your child is having problems coping with his/her schoolwork on a continual basis, this is the time to contact the teacher and have a conference.
The teacher may suggest that the child spend a little more time with her by coming in early or staying a little late so that help maybe extended. A teacher may suggest a student tutor help the child or suggest ways that you at home may help your child boost its understanding or improve its study skills.
It maybe that your child is really doing well, possibly better in some subjects and not so well in others. It is not unusual for children to excel in several subjects and feel like they are failing in others. Everyone has their points of interest and not everyone can be perfect in all things. It is your job as a parent to explain to your child that perseverance pays and that they should do well in the subjects they like and understand and work as hard as they can to understand and do well in subjects they find difficult.
I can remember studying geometry and algebra and hating every single minute of each class and crying over the homework. It was like studying Greek to me, but I was persistent in my efforts and did get through the classes.
Point out how you struggled in some subjects at school; praise your child for every little accomplishment he/she makes in an effort to succeed in the subject.
Teach the child to say to himself when he is frustrated that "he can ask for help and get it or many really smart kids struggle with some subjects and get it, so can I can, too."
We were not all created to be Rhodes Scholars and though it is important to do well in school a B or C is not the end of the world for any of us.
I can't do all this homework.
In the course of a school year, a parent hears this argument a zillion times and what is the answer? Sometimes it really is too much homework , but most of the time, it is the child that feels overwhelmed because he/she is disorganized.
It is said that a child should have about 10 minutes of homework per grade level, a second grader about 20 minutes, a fourth grade student 40 minutes and so on.
A child should have a suitable place to work with no distractions around to help their mind wander. Help your child organize their work and allow them a few minutes break between subjects. Sometimes it is easier to get them to do the easy stuff first and then concentrate on what they consider the hard stuff.
If you have tried your best to help your child organize itself and the problem still persists, contact the teacher to see if both of you can come up with a viable solution to the problem. Many times a teacher will allow an overwhelmed child a little more leeway and the problem will be solved.
Some children are just overwhelmed and then they get totally frustrated and begin to hate school. Once that passion begins to develop, it takes serious effort to change it. That is why you as a parent, should do all that you can to help your child cope with all real and imagined difficulties they face in school.
Sometimes it is hard to remember that they are "little people" and that their minds do not work or rationalize like an adult mind and they need help and understanding.
Help and understanding does not mean giving in to each and every demand, but teaching organization, persistence, patience, and proper attitude.
No one ever promised us a rose garden and we know when life gives us lemons, we need to make lemonade. So to help our children as they are growing up, we need to nurture, stroke and push them all at the same time, but with love and understanding, as that is our main job as parents