Meeting With Teachers and Administrators

A positive working relationship is essential, and change is most likely to occur when the advocate approaches her task with an attitude of  collaboration to find changes that could be made.

For Meetings

  • * Be professional in your approach and respectful of others’ points of view; be articulate and tactful.
  • * Be aware of the decision-making process and chain of command in the organization and act accordingly. Approaching your child’s teacher first is probably the best idea, but check to see if your school sets up any Team Meetings that would include the principal, high ability coordinator, and/or other teachers your child has.
  • * Prepare well for your meetings; be well-organized and accurate in your reporting. Do not exaggerate and do not be emotional, but provide specific examples pertaining to your child to illustrate your points.
  • * Be calmly persistent and do not be afraid to ask questions.
  • * Be prepared with practical suggestions and reasonable goals for progress. Most teachers and administrators will welcome input from parents which saves them both time and energy. Implementing the ideas may not always happen easily, but you will at least have set some common goals.
  • * Ask that student growth is measured. Having goals and suggestions in place is wonderful, and seeing these come to fruition is even better. However, make sure that you and the school are gauging your child’s progress. The overall goal is for your child to be learning new things every day!

Working With Your Child’s Teacher

Teachers today have one of the most challenging jobs when it comes to educating children. Most are expected to teach a classroom full of students with a vast range of needs and abilities. Anything you can do to aid your child’s teacher in planning and providing for your own child’s academic experience will make his or her job easier. As you spend time educating yourself about the world of high ability education be on the lookout for ideas that you can partner with the teacher to try. Some might be able to be done both at home and at school.  A few examples might include:
  • * Providing a different spelling list with more challenging words.
  • * Extending science and social studies lessons by suggesting a project or report related to the topics being studied.
  • * Suggesting appropriate websites (researched by you) that relate to topics studied in class.
  • * Providing ideas for open-ended projects that could include all students.
  • * Helping plan inexpensive field trips or arrange for guest speakers.
  • * Offering to help in the classroom so that grouping students for instruction can take place.
  • * Differentiating assessments by assigning projects or products to demonstrate knowledge instead of paper pencil tests.