Team-working With Your Child’s Teachers
As school begins, so will all the meetings and conferences between school professionals, parents, and other adults involved in your child’s life. As a former educator, I know how time-consuming but necessary these meetings are. As a foster and adoptive parent, I know how frustrating and confusing the meetings can be. I would like to offer some suggestions that might make the whole process more productive for all.
One of the things I learned both as a teacher and a parent is that most children are very adept at triangulation. My former principal used to always advise that both parents were called in when a child was having trouble with a teacher or vice-versa. Many times the child had told the parents a different version of the facts and, when confronted in a joint meeting, would confess and own the problem. As the parent, if your child is telling you something that makes you angry at the teacher or the administration, ask for a joint meeting. Often this will ferret out the truth. And be very careful, as your child may have orchestrated the entire thing.
If your child is in therapy and therapeutic strategies have been implemented, include the school personnel. If your child is working on bonding with you, hugs and candy given by the teacher would undermine this process. However, because teachers are caring people, they automatically hug children at certain times and may take offense if ordered not to. Most educators, if the therapeutic process were explained to them (preferably by your therapist), would assist the parents in this.
What part should the therapist play in your contact with the school? That all depends on how involved your child is in therapy, at what stage you are, and how good the rapport is with the professionals at school. As a former teacher, I know teachers all use education language but try to make explanations understandable. I also know that sometimes educators fail there. And sometimes when teachers see your children for eight hours a day, they think they know your child as well as the parents, which may or may not be the case. Often another professional can aid the parent in bridging the communication gap between parents and teachers. Or ask your therapist for guidance in asking the right questions or remaining neutral during the meetings.
When I was teaching, at one point I also had a foster son and an adopted daughter in school, in fact in my high school English classes. Of course I had been one who would sometimes think that a great deal of blame fell on the parents when a child refused to do
his/her homework. What an eye opener for me! No way could I get my kids to read their literature assignment! Yes, I could give them time and insist that they hold the book, but nothing beyond that. So my perspective as a teacher changed. But I know that the perception can still exist in teachers, so as a parent, you will have to find a way to include rather than alienate the teacher, especially until the behaviors and attitudes can be attributed to the owner! Who very often might be the child!
As we work together to help the child, we must remember to do exactly that—work together. It is imperative that the child see that the adults in his/her life are strong enough and capable enough to become a team to assist the child in his/her learning and becoming a responsible person. Establish good communication with your child’s teacher early so that you are all ready to work together when a problem arises!Tags: blocking triangulation when working in a team for a child, creating a team approach in therapy for your child, therapist working with the teachers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist
- Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.
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