Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

ABCs of Being Smart: T Is for Tips for Working with Teachers

Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

ABCs of Being Smart: T Is for Tips for Working with Teachers

Article excerpt

For parents of toddlers to teens-here are some time-tested tips.

Traits to Tap

When meeting with teachers to strengthen home and school connections or resolve any issues, it's best to be as open and positive as possible. Be:

* Thankful-Convey gratitude for the work teachers do.

* Thorough-Do your "homework" and get the facts straight before confronting the teacher about issues having to do with your child.

* Thoughtful-Give preliminary thought to what you think might work to improve any specific difficulties and also build bridges with the school-and be sure to listen thoughtfully to the teacher's ideas and responses to your questions and suggestions.

* Truthful-Be honest about any concerns you might have, and why they matter.

* Tough-Maintain resolve, but do so while being mindful of the perspectives of others (e.g., tenacity in moderation).

* Timely-Be considerate of people's busy schedules, and strive to find convenient, appropriate times for conversations with the teacher about what you think requires addressing.

* Tactful-Watch your tone, written communication, words, and body language, all of which convey messages.

* Tranquil-Adopt a calm, diplomatic approach that will help drive momentum forward (because tension is counterproductive).

Things to Try

Teachers typically have a "toolbox" of top strategies they use to help make their classrooms welcoming, effective learning environments. Here are suggestions for parents who want to fortify the contents of any such toolbox. Add:

* Trust-Let teachers, counselors, and school administrators know that you have confidence in them, and in everyone's ability to work collaboratively. Confidence is empowering.

* Teamwork-Bring your strengths and viewpoints to the table, tie them constructively to others' contributions, coordinate efforts, and thereby develop a shared ethic.

* Trailblazing-Be creative; think in new and innovative ways.

* Tracking-Keep an ongoing record of your child's accomplishments so teachers can build on what's known.

* Talk-Facilitate more discussion, dialogue, and sharing of ideas.

* Training-Advocate for additional teacher training opportunities. (For instance, professional development on differentiating programming for gifted/high-ability learners, or workshops on promoting inquiry-based learning, or...)

* Tasks-Suggest ideas for activities and learning experiences that relate to your child's particular interests, including those in non-curricular areas. …

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