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Ask an Expert: End-of-the-year teacher trouble

Q. This has been a tough year for my fifth grade son. It seems he and the teacher have never really gotten along. Last week, the teacher placed my son in a seating group in a rear corner of the room that includes a couple kids who are very mean to my son. The teacher knows about this. What should I do?

A. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to help your son advocate for himself. Most mis-understandings between parents and teachers are due to communication holes. It is my recommendation that you send an e-mail to your teacher requesting a meeting.

Dear Teacher,First of all I want to thank you for all of your hard work in the classroom. I would like to request a meeting with you my son to discuss some pressing issues that are effective my son in the classroom. I would like to him the opportunity to share his feelings with you so that we can work together to hear his concerns. Here are three times that we could meet. We look forward to collaborating with you.

Next, I advise you sit with your son and help him formulate his feelings. WHY doesn’t he like sitting in this group and how would moving affect his learning? Have him write it down so he can use it as a document, or if he clams up he can give it right to the teacher.Examples:

  1. For me to learn really well I need to sit closer to the teacher.
  2. When I sit in the corner, I don’t feel connected to the class.
  3. Sitting in the corner, makes me feel isolated.
  4. With two kids laughing or making faces at me when you’re not looking, I can’t concentrate on my schoolwork.

Finally, be a support for your son but don’t DO IT for him. When you allow your child to self advocate, you will give him an incredible opportunity to take some ownership over his own learning.If this does not work…then get back to me and I will guide you further. Good luck.About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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