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Taking up your child's cause

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

Schooling is not always smooth sailing. You should always be prepared for unexpected problems. For example, your child may not respond to the teacher well or your child may be bullied during the recess. It is more alarming if the school report suggests that your child has learning disability.

How do you react to these situations? What measures do you take? There is no point in blaming the teacher or lodging a complaint outright. It is better to build good relations right from the beginning than adopt a confrontationist attitude after the incident.

It is not hard to build good relations. You just need to send a friendly thank you note occasionally or meet the teacher sometimes. If you already have an open communication with the teacher, she will be of great help in solving the problems.

Problems do not emerge all of a sudden. So gather details of the background. May be your child is not doing well in a subject or he or she is being teased. Make sure what is wrong and proceed as per your judgment.

If you want to shift your child to a new section you must support your statement with strong reasons. Schools have their rules in matters of shifting and action will be taken only if you have a strong reason. For example, a change could be considered if your child's learning style is not commensurate with the teacher's teaching style.

The teacher is the most suited person to work out a solution. This is because the teacher is in constant contact with your child and can understand the problems better. However, if you are dissatisfied you can seek advice from the class counselor or the school psychologist. The principal should be the very last choice and should be consulted only when nothing else works.

It is not necessary that you are the only parent who has a problem with the school. It can be a general problem that can be sorted out in consultation with other parents. However, if the child has some disability then you should contact one of the government resource centers immediately. They can help you by giving useful advice. If your child's disability affects his educational performance, you have the right under the Individuals with Disabilities Act to have your child tested to determine his special education eligibility.

The parent, teacher and administration usually organize meetings in which concerned parents can put forth their ideas and discuss problems. You must remember that a school is an institution that works with the family for the holistic development of the child. There is no point in looking at the school and the teachers with animosity. You must keep your cool while conveying your concern; listen patiently and trust the teacher's judgment.

When you communicate in writing, keep record of all your communications. This will help you raise the issue at a higher level if the need arises. You can always seek legal help if you are dissatisfied with the way the school has treated your child.