Saturday, September 24, 2011

Especially Parents September Edition: Schools and Education

This month the writers for the eSpecially Parents series will focus on their child’s experience with schools and the educational system.

I have written a lot about Ben’s experiences at school. For the most part we have been very happy with his teachers, staff and academics. In preparing to write this post, I thought about why we have had good experiences and what went wrong when we did not. Here are three areas that I think help to summarize why we continue to be happy with the public school system.

  1. Expertise - I know that I am an expert on Ben because I have known him the longest and involved with every detail of his life, but I also value that the people working with Ben are most likely experts about how to best teach him. They are trained in educating children with needs such as Ben and have special techniques that work.  I begin with the assumption that they went into this field because they have a love for this particular profession and the work that they do.
  2. Relationships – Building positive relationships with everyone at the school helps when things are good, but also when things get rough, I already have something in place. Communication is easier when trust has already been built. It has to be a partnership between our family and the school - everyone has a difficult job to do and if we consider ourselves as a team, it can only help Ben.
  3. Involvement – I find a way to get involved at the school that Ben attends – anything from PTA to helping the teacher with the newsletter. Even if I am too busy to volunteer, sending emails to stay in touch is helpful too. Teachers have a tough job and any help from a parent is usually welcomed. When they request information or supplies, I make sure that I do my part in a timely manner.
When I started writing this post, all was good with Ben's school and class. Just days ago, I found out that Ben's teacher is leaving due to personal reasons. My biggest concern, and a time I can recall when Ben's school experience was terrible, is when there was inconsistency with staff. Although it appears that they have a plan in place for staff, my radar is up. I will need to be more aware of Ben's reaction to the school bus's arrival, what information is sent home and stay in contact with the principal. Although I am not a fan of surprise visits to the school, I will do what is necessary to feel comfortable with Ben's situation.

What things have you tried to help your family have a good experience with the school system?

If you have not seen the eSpecially Parents series, get more information here.

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