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Balancing Involvement in a Child’s Education Without Being Overbearing

Balancing Involvement in a Child’s Education Without Being Overbearing

by Sarah Duch

As Luke walks through the unfamiliar hallways, he does his best to not look into the eyes of the unfamiliar faces. He masters the new rules, both written and unwritten, and smiles at the idea of new opportunities. This is the glorified first day of high school.

However, a few weeks later, with the novelty worn off, he finds himself in a dilemma. The English rough draft is due, but he completely forgot. With soccer practice running late, he had no time to finish his geometry homework. His history teacher keeps asking for study questions, but as he digs through the jumble of papers in his backpack, they are nowhere to be found. He has no time management and has little concept of organization. When he hits rock bottom and realizes his straight-A average is quickly slipping, he has one thought, “I will just make up excuses, and Mom will get me out of this.”

High school can be intimidating for many teenagers, and they quickly find themselves slipping into Luke’s situation. At this age, students hunt for every chance to be independent, while at the same time, struggle to adjust to the difficulty of high school. Often, students make their first B in high school, but this should not create household panic. Parents must first ensure their child is taking responsibility for his own actions. Remember, teenagers make mistakes, and as a result, make excuses. A parent’s role is not to bail the student out but to oversee the situation and ensure that the student learns from the necessary consequences.

ways to stay involved:

(without embarrassing your teenager)

  • Volunteer to help with fundraisers for your child’s organization
  • Become a booster club member
  • Volunteer supplies to help your child’s teacher with in-class projects
  • Go to sporting events, class plays and concerts, even if your child has the tiniest part!
  • Become a VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) member
  • Be the host home for Homecoming pictures or Prom dinner

If a student has an issue with a specific assignment or teacher, the problem can typically be addressed by contacting the teacher directly. However, storming into a teacher’s classroom ready to accuse is not the best option. This is never effective and can often embarrass the student, making the situation worse. Teachers are not bad people and are not purposely unfair toward a child. Go into a parent-teacher meeting with an open-minded attitude and ask questions, but do not accuse.

The teacher provides the necessities for success in the classroom, but each student must take the initiative to utilize all that the teacher provides. Remember, with 150 students, it is nearly impossible for a teacher to remember to send individual parental updates. If a student struggles with responsibility, email is a great option for asking for short updates from the teacher.

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Parents can still maintain continuous relationships with all eight of a student’s teachers, but it is essential that this relationship begins at the beginning of the school year, not three days before report cards are released. This is possible by utilizing a school’s online “Parent Access” account. These accounts display a student’s grade immediately upon entry into the grade book. This prevents the teacher from getting bombarded with emails and phone calls from parents needing a child’s updated grade.

In high school, particularly if a student is preparing for college, each student must work toward taking complete responsibility for his own time management, conflicts with a teacher, assignments, and tests. When students take responsibility and parents stay involved, then the high school experience can be gratifying for everyone.

Sarah Such teaches 9th grade World Geography at Texas High School. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Journalism and is currently working on her graduate degree at Texas A&M-Texarkana. She and her husband, Mark, are the proud new parents of son, Thomas.
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