Parent who wants to see more teacher support

By agentdavid on Thu, 07/11/2019- 10:10pm (PDT) in the "Questions for Professionals" Forum

I just got my son's grades a little while ago and I was shocked to see how poorly he is doing.  I am a single mother who works a lot so I don't have a lot of time to help him with his homework.  How can I get the teacher to support him more so he does better in school?


Have you tried talking to his teacher? You could always email or call

I have but she just doesn't seem to grasp what I am saying. I get the impression that she is overwhelmed with the number of children in her classroom and doesn't know what to do about it exactly. She's young.

That may very well be the case but that isn't an excuse to let your son fall behind. I would recommend you schedule a parent-teacher conference so you can have her undivided attention about your son falling behind in class.

That's a great idea. That way we'll be able to talk about my perception of my son's learning abilities. I have a feeling that I may have to give her some direction on how to teach my son. As I said, she's pretty inexperienced but she's incredibly nice and my son really likes her.

Some unsolicited advice - hope it helps! I have 3 kids ranging from 1st to 9th grade and have found that the quality of parent-teacher conferences varies quite widely, so I came up with a plan. I draft a short agenda prior to the meeting with examples of graded homework, stories I've heard from my children, etc. I use these to help build a case for 1-2 specific asks that I can hold the teach accountable to and partner with the teacher on. For example, for my eldest one year I was receiving social studies work grades that were just basically right/wrong answers. I asked the teacher to push my son by returning the assignments with the quick grading (seemed lazy to me, but I didn't tell the teacher) and to add a short note that asked my son to return a short paragraph on 2 specific topics clarifying a more "correct" answer. At first my son was annoyed, but after a few of these experiences, he started writing better answers the first time and I the teacher and I were both able to build a nice bond over a system that worked quite well.

I'm sure this will vary teach to teacher and around the student, but being organized for these meetings and providing the teacher with some ideas that "mom would like to see" was a nice way to collaborate without telling them how to do their job. Good luck!

Well, think about how he is at home and before he started attending school. You could always clue her in on strategies you learned to help him master certain tasks, like tying his shoes.

Yeah that's not a bad idea. I remember when my daughter was falling behind in class, I spoke to her teacher about what she was doing to engage with my daughter. My daughter has a really short attention span and needed a little help focusing.

Setting expectations for my daughter and making them clear to her really helped her teacher. At home, I have to make it clear to her what I need her to do and when I need her to do it. Bringing this strategy into the classroom really helped her and her teacher.

I think that both of these strategies could really help my son and his teacher. When I'm at home, I've learned that if I'm not explicitly clear about what I need him to do, it doesn't get done. That's why I made him a chore chart, so he understands what is expected of him but can also visually see what needs to be done.

Also, using repetition for children who tend to fall behind in school is really helpful. She may need to use more real-world examples when conducting lessons so your son can grasp what she is saying.

I'll bring this up during the meeting. Whenever I ask my son why he isn't completing assignments or why he is doing poorly on tests, he always says he forgets. So maybe her lessons aren't resonating with him.

Not great to be honest with you. He's in third grade but he's reading at a first grade level. While children his age can read automatically, he struggles with longer words and sentences. When he reads out loud, it sounds very clunky.

I never thought about notetaking. I know she uses mnemonic devices and acronyms to help her students remember certain concepts better. For example, my son knows the cardinal directions for north, south, east, and west because she taught him "Never Eat Shredded Wheat" as a memory tool.

Well if he does well mnemonic devices or acronyms, maybe she needs to add more of those to her lesson plan with your son. This will help him remember parts of the lesson better.

Yes, your son's teacher should play on his strengths and work to build on those strengths. I would encourage her to look for things your son is good at and reinforce those skills so he doesn't get discouraged.

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