If your child is academically on level, doesn't create classroom conflict and is too often ignored, this article is for you.
Children frequently don't express what's on their minds -- no matter how great the relationship we share with them.
It requires vigilance, awareness and stamina to make sure your child's needs are being met. Aside from the home, nowhere is this more important than in school.
This article is about the "overlooked child." The primary/elementary youngster who sits quietly in class, does well academically and rarely raises a fuss.
This little one requires just as much attention as all the others. He or she is part of the silent majority who need recognition and appreciation.
The average teacher has approximately 24 children -- many of whom are clamoring for immediate attention.
So what happens? In the natural ebb and flow of things the child who is acting out or in scholastic need gets the lion's share of attention.
The quiet "educationally on grade level youngster" occasionally gets a pat on the back but by and large is benignly ignored.
It's understandable how and why this happens -- it's unacceptable that it does!
All children whether they exhibit it or not require kind and supportive attention.
Everyone needs positive reinforcement. Simply getting an "A" on a paper, a smile and good marks for behavior is not enough.
Think about your own life. How many times when you were young did you desire positive feedback? How about now as an adult?
Help your child's teacher become the most positive influence of which they are capable?
Here's where you take action!
- Observe your child -- their moods -- what interests them -- if they are returning home from school seeming very happy, lethargic or depressed.
- Talk to your youngster about their school day. Sometimes it's easiest if you ask about a particular subject or a 'special' like Gym, Music, Art -- even lunch. Get a good feeling for how your child is experiencing their hours away from home.
- Make an appointment or two for visiting the class -- schedule different hours of the day. Be observant of what's happening in the room, but don't be judgmental. Simply thank the teacher when you are ready to leave.
- If you have the time offer to volunteer even an hour every other week. You'll be amazed at how much data you'll pick up. It might be as simple as reading a book. Or, if you have a special talent, contribute it!
- Watch your child while you are in the classroom. See how engaged they are. Look at the expression on their face. It will provide you with a wealth of information.
- Here's the really important part. If you see that the teacher has little interaction with your child ask for an appointment to sit down and discuss the situation. Don't wait for parent-teacher conferences.
In the meeting explain that you understand the teacher is being pulled in all directions.
However, indicate that you notice because your child requires little attention you perceive that they are often overlooked. Handle this as an observation not a criticism.
Often teachers don't realize they are 'ignoring' your child. That's not their intention. So caught up under the pressures of the core curriculum and disruptive children as well as those with special learning needs, your child often is not on their radar.
Making the teacher aware of this will be welcomed by any dedicated educator and will result in more attention being paid to your child.
That's your goal! You want your youngster to feel validated and recognized. When this happens it will set the stage for positive educational experiences for years to come.
Keep in mind that a teacher has your child for about five and one half hours a day. Divide that by twenty four children and you'll begin to see how little face time your child and teacher share.
Every minor positive interaction is a gift that keeps on giving!
Most importantly, remember that good communication begins at home.
Create an open and accepting environment when your child is very young and you'll find that self expression, confidence, empowerment and great relationships will develop naturally.
I'd like to add a personal note that I'm sure some readers will relate to. Teachers can make a lasting impression on a child's life.
To this day I recall with incredible fondness two teachers, Miss Dorothea Hartnett & Miss Janice Hostel. They positively influenced my life immeasurably and I owe them my lasting gratitude.
Perhaps you can help your child's teacher to do the same for them.
Children grow up so quickly -- Tomorrow your child will be a teen -- Don't miss out on all the fun -- Enjoy the early years. They pass in a flash!
Dave Kanegis is a Certified Professional Coach and works via telephone, Skype, FaceTime and in-person. He holds Master's Degrees in Education and Psychology and is the creator of Mind Acrobatics™.
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This article has been revised and updated since it's posting in The Good Men Project.