We want to help your student develop the skills to advocate for themselves because it gives them a chance to prove to their teachers how they are invested in their education and academic growth. However, situations arise where parent involvement is helpful and sometimes necessary.
When to jump in and advocate for your student:
If your student has already advocated for themselves and the teacher is unresponsive or disrespectful, intervene. If your student is nervous about talking to a teacher by themselves, help them by role playing the situation. By helping to create a general script to follow, you’re leaving less room for misinterpretation.If your student is still actively uncomfortable about confronting a teacher, write an email together. It shows the teacher that your student cares, and your student still feels supported by you.If the semester is coming to an end and you have some really big concerns about grades, reach out to the teacher. Maybe something has been going on in class that your student hasn’t shared with you, maybe there are options to make up points that your student wasn’t aware of.
While we suggest having face-to-face conversations as much as possible, we also recommend that both students AND parents document any big meetings and conversations. This might just mean sending an email to set up a meeting and give the teacher context about what your student wants to discuss. This isn’t a tactic to place blame on someone by referencing a “paper trail,” but rather a way to help hold both students and teachers accountable.
For example: a teacher told a student that if he earned a 79% by the end of the semester, she would round it up to a B. The student was able to finish with a 79% but the teacher forgot to manually change it before grades were finalized. However, this agreement was documented in an email to the parent, so they were able to reference it and bump the grade up.
Teachers, parents, and students all have the same goals: to give the student the best education possible and to help them succeed. Keep this in mind every time a tough conversation comes up.