As a parent, you depend on your child’s school to help them gain the best possible education. While research says that children do not learn best in rigid classrooms there does need to be structure. So what can you do when you realize that your child’s classroom is entirely out of control? Here are a few things you can do to help.
1. Talk to your child’s teacher for their explanation
Teachers have a very difficult job. Class sizes are increasing and budgets are decreasing. Teachers are left with more responsibilities outside of teaching their students than ever before. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean that they are overwhelmed, overworked, and left without support from the school and administrators. Bring your concerns to your child’s teacher first. Tell them what you see happening and why you think this is a problem. There might be a simple explanation that doesn’t need further action. You may have witnessed an isolated incident or a special circumstance like some free time or a fellow student’s birthday. If this is not the case, however, then further steps can be taken.
2. See what you can do to help
So the teacher has admitted that there is a problem. It might be a good idea to see if there is anything that you can do to help. PTAs exist in some schools that may have jobs that you could volunteer for with either time or resources. These are usually easy tasks. Maybe you could lead story times. This will give the teacher a little quiet time to get caught up on work. You could also be a parent who cannot donate time. Some classes benefit from supplies that help teachers to keep the students on task and calm down the chaos.
3. Talk to your child about it
Start a conversation with your child about their classroom. They will have useful insight into how the classroom operates on a day to day basis. Asking about what they are learning is a conversation that most parents are probably already having with their children. It’s a good idea to ask further questions to gauge the situation. ‘Do your classmates sit quietly during lessons or are people loud and crazy all the time?’ Or more direct questions such as. ‘Does your teacher get to teach you things without your classmates being rude and interrupting?’. Your child will have a better idea of whether the classroom is crazy than you might think.
4. Talk to school administrators
If you don’t feel like you are getting satisfactory answers then request to meet with the school administrators. Explain what the problem is in as much detail as you can including specific incidents that you remember. Ensure that the administrators understand what you are saying by asking them questions. Try not to be mean or critical unless you see specific problems with the teacher’s actions. Most teachers have the best intentions for their students and outside issues are the reasons they are not successful. It’s not fair to hang the teacher out to dry for something they cannot control.
5. Take your concerns to the school board
Your child’s school will have regular meetings of the school board. This is where community members can express concerns and vote on policy that will affect the schools. Attending the school board meeting is likely to bring about action. Make sure that you have specific incidents or conversations ready to explain your concerns. For instance, if you think that the classroom is too large for one teacher to manage alone or you believe there are behavior issues with some students that are being disruptive. Try to be considerate of the administrators and teachers that you have spoken to. Try to keep your concerns professional and avoid criticizing them as people.