When you advocate for your child, you ask questions, raise concerns, and ask for assistance. It also involves teaching them how to speak up. The problem is that it’s not always easy to accomplish. Parents sometimes find it challenging to communicate with educators. There may not be a sense of belonging to them.
Your experiences may have been negative. It’s not always easy to know what or when to say it. However, when things aren’t going well at school, you can act as a voice for your child. No one knows your child’s strengths, shortcomings, and interests than you. And so, you can help your child thrive by advocating for them. Here’s a guide on how you do this.
Table of Contents
Understand the Meaning of Advocacy
As a parent, you may need to be confident and know everything about your child to advocate for them. Nevertheless, “advocating” simply means speaking up about your issues. It is also okay to speak up in a way that is comfortable for you. There is no need to be loud or speak in front of a large crowd.
You can do so if you want to advocate quietly and only with one person, like your child’s teacher. For instance, if you feel your child needs special accommodations, you can start by scheduling a meeting with your child’s teacher and calmly explain your point of view. It does not have to be intimidating to advocate — you can do it quietly and calmly.
Describe Your Thoughts On Paper
You may find it helpful to write down what you intend to discuss. It would help to consider using a worksheet and plan for what you want to discuss during the parent-teacher conference. Many people find it easier to think out loud rather than in their heads.
You might also consider recording your thoughts on a smartphone if that describes you. Alternatively, talk to someone who can take notes, such as a friend or family member. It can be easier to have a successful conversation if you know what you want to say in advance.
Consult a Trusted Person First
Start the conversation with your child’s teacher if you have a good relationship with them. Get in touch with them by sending an email, a note, or a text, or giving them a call. You may also find it easier to discuss your situation with someone you trust than with the teacher. It could be a librarian, administrator, or counselor.
Also, you can speak to a parent who has gone through a similar experience. It is essential to consider that other parents may have been through a similar emotional or stressful experience. Speaking up is better than not speaking up at all, so start with someone you trust. You’ll also feel more confident when talking to a teacher or another staff member.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
First, you should ask your child about the school situation. Ask what other kids this age are learning and whether your child can learn it at the same rate. Ask about things you are concerned about if you have specific concerns. For instance, if your child struggles with math, you can mention that.
Your child’s teacher may use specific classroom strategies to help him learn the material more effectively. For example, it may include breaking up the task into smaller chunks, providing visual aids, and providing additional worksheets or practice. The teacher can explain how they are helping them learn in class and discuss any other resources or methods that may be helpful.
Show Emotion – But Do So Respectfully
You are emotionally invested in your child when you speak up about them. Talking about what worries you to strangers can be difficult. Feeling emotional is okay. You can even cry if you want.
Nevertheless, don’t take it personally or lash out. If people feel attacked, it’s harder for them to help you. Even if you don’t always agree, most teachers and staff members try their best and want to help.
It would be best if you didn’t consider advocacy a one-time activity. It will probably take a while to get used to it. It’s important to know when contact with your child’s teacher is too frequent. You can also get updates at other times and in different ways. Parent-teacher association meetings, for example, can reveal what’s happening at your child’s school and provide information about other resources.