Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nachas or Someone Knows How to Write

Surprise! Well this is always a point that I think of and miss, and I hope you take the time to read this and prepare yourselves if you have kids in school.
I was very proud of my son's report card. He got mostly A's. The thing I liked most about it was the teacher wrote a thoughtful and individual message. I was very impressed. Many teachers write generic messages like "your son is a sweet boy and a joy to have in class" (yes I do this in public school, but my students are profoundly retarded, so it's true). They don't really think about the impact the comments can make on your child, not to mention their Chanukah tip! Here is the part where I say prepare yourselves. Mrs. LFD and I have noticed when we go to PTA there is not a lot the teachers have to say unless there is a problem. So arm yourselves with some pointed questions that will draw out the best about qualities of your child. This is good for you, and the teacher too. I know that I forgot to prepare for our daughters PTA, and the teachers told us "She is very smart and funny, she talks with an 8th grader's vocabulary" (She's 5 years old). They gave us a bag of corn chips with a sticker on it for her, and after 30 seconds, we were done. It was a waste of time (other than showing we care about our daughter). I believe they would have had more to say if we asked them some questions. Here is one Mrs. LFD always leads in with:
1. "Hi, please tell me something positive about my son." Not that there is too much negative, but it reorients the thinking.
2. Who is my child's best friend? This will help you gauge if the teacher is aware of social dynamics in the class.
3. What is your recommended bed time? This gives the impression that you value your kid's teachers opinion of what goes on in the home. And good teachers really do know a thing or two about bed time.
4. How is my child coming in in the morning? This will help you gauge if the teacher is looking at the kids moods. Everyone has good and bad days, and teacher need to be aware of this, especially Rabbaim.
Well, if you have any other suggestions, feel free to add to the list, and good luck!


The Babysitter said...

Smart idea to write a list of questions, and those are some good questions, shows you are a concerned parent!

I remember my father always wrote down what the Rebbi's said about my brothers, and he would come home with lists of things. Maybe he had asked them questions first, not sure.

I remember always being happy to hear what the teachers told my mother by PTA. Usually my mother ended up telling me about the other mothers she met there and stuff like that, and she told me the teachers reports.

SuperRaizy said...

As a teacher, I like to hear parents ask, "What can we do at home to support my child's learning?" As a parent, I always ask that question.

Tr8erGirl said...

I always like the teachers to know if there are stressers, good and bad, going on that may effect schoolwork. Sometimes I wish I could ask teachers whats going on in their lives that effect their ability to teach at times! Seriously though, my son is lucky to have had very nurturing teachers!

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher myself (also in a public school,with very involved parents who tend to breathe down our necks) so I'm not sure how I'd take "Tell me something positive about my child" as a lead in question. To me, it would sound kind of like an order/challenge that implies the parent is just waiting to pounce on me and might throw me a bit off guard. Later in the conversation (with the right tone)it would be fine.

Mrs. Lakewood Falling Down said...

Anon- re:"Tell me something positive about my child." I usually stick that question in after the usual your son is great blah blah... if the teacher has not said something about my child that cannot be applied to 28 of the 30+ kids in his class. I am a therapist and we have parent teacher conferences at my school. I try very hard to be specific about each child.

rickismom said...

I hope you will see this.
First, thanks for your visit and encouragement.
second: SHAME on you!! Do you think parents of retarded (even very retarded) kids need a "Your kid is a pleasure"?????
Tell the parent ONE thing the child has improved on or in.
-Joe is speaking sometimes in two-word sentences., not just single words
-Mike seems to be looking more at what is happening in the room. Yesterday he tried to say his para's name.
-Susan is able to eat liquids now on her own.
WHATEVER. I know my kids has value. I don't need you to tell me that. I want to know what my child has learned in the last half year!!!!!

rickismom said...

SORRY. I wrote as a reply to your mention in the article. Now I see (after I posted ) your comment that you are specific. OK!!