Was it obvious that I was a little hurt and angry in my last two posts? If it was, I apologize. It wasn’t directed at you.
I’ve been thinking about my experience the other day and how it made me feel, and I’ve been trying to work out a way that I can use it to help you and your child, because I suspect that your child has that kind of experience all the time.
Here’s what I’ve come up with – it’s all about communication. I have a friend who became my best friend about 15 minutes after we met. There was an instant connection. Not only would we finish each other’s sentences, sometimes we didn’t even have to talk.
Then there was the calculus teacher in college. I almost failed calculus because I just didn’t understand her (no, calc wasn’t the problem – I’m good at math). It was as though we were speaking different languages, even when we were just having a conversation. I can’t explain it or how to recognize it, I just know it happens.
Take a look at the places where your child is struggling, especially if it’s an area where they’ve never had trouble before and then ask about the teacher. Do you get an angry response? Or maybe the classic “Mrs. So-and-so hates me”?
I think that’s your first clue that communication isn’t taking place.
If that’s the case, there are a few things you can do:
- Talk to the teacher and get their opinion. You most likely can’t change the way things are, but maybe they can give you alternate ways to help your child learn the material. I passed calculus because I found a book in the library that gave me what the instructor couldn’t.
- Explain what’s happening to your child. Tell them it’s a lack of communication and no reflection on their intelligence.
- Find subtle ways to let your child know how smart they are, regardless of grades.
- Give them ways to express their frustration. My son used to practice slap shots when he was upset; my daughter gets out her art supplies.
- Supplement what they are learning in class with books, tapes, websites, or whatever might help. Remember to utilize their learning style to make it most effective.
- Keep the lines of communication open between the two of you.