Recognizing Student Struggles 6 of 7: Identifying the Warning Sign--Class Standing

This feature in the Recognizing Student Struggles series discusses the importance listening to your child's teacher and making use of their feedback. It also highlights what can be done if you're told that your child has fallen behind in his or her studies.

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Receiving a phone call from your child's teacher isn't always bad. Maybe they'd like you to come to class to speak about your job one week, or maybe it's time for a bake sale and they're depending on your award-winning cream cheese cupcakes to fund the physical education department for the third year in a row. But it can be surprising and disconcerting to be informed by a teacher or principal that your child has fallen behind in school.

It's a big step for a teacher to make that phone call. As your child's instructor, it's their job to ensure that all the children are receiving equal amounts of attention in the classroom. If one student falls behind it can be a reflection on the teacher. Or it can mean that the student is not making the most of the attention they're getting. Whatever the problem your child might be dealing with - social or academic or both - take that call from her teacher as an indication that your child needs additional help of some kind.

Even if you miss the signals your child is sending up, a call from a third party is pretty clear. Listen to it. A teacher will never make that call lightly and will always be motivated by genuine concern. Look into the options available for counseling, tutoring, or after school homework help programs. Ask the teacher that called you what kinds of programs they might recommend for your child.

Watch for other warning signs that your child might be falling behind (see the other articles in this series), and maintain an open and honest relationship with your student's teacher so they'll feel comfortable coming to you as soon as they notice any problems. Let teachers know that you're concerned about your child's progress. Empower them to act as your partner when it comes to helping your child succeed in school, both socially and academically. A good relationship with your child's teacher can only lead to good things, including more notes and calls home about bake sales than about bad grades or discipline problems.

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