WHAT if I told you all kids are able to succeed, would you believe? I've seen it happen so I know it's possible. However, when we see a child not succeeding, either the parent blames the school/teacher or the teacher blames the parent. This does not necessarily solve anything but rather builds greater segregation between both parties who are critical for the success of the child.
I am a sixth grade teacher at a public school in south Manchester. I am not yet a mom, but I've taught at a preparatory school and a primary school for over four years. During my time teaching I have learnt that the parent-teacher relationship is necessary for the success of a child. In all reality, parents are humans learning how to manage their child so a little advice is needed at times. As young as I am, I give my parents advice/tips each year to help them — even when their child is on their way to the next grade. I remind them every time that we have to work together in order for the child to achieve success and so said so done.
Please note that each child's success is different as it depends on where they're coming from.
Below, I've decided to share a few tips to help more parents. My top tips are:
1. Check their bag every single day to see if they get homework; ensure you start this from the day they begin school and be consistent with it. No one likes homework; not even adults like to take work home, so don't be surprised if your child says they didn't get homework or if they don't do well with it. If they start to lie or slip up, keep constant contact with another parent or even the teacher and ask them daily. Also, check if they did it well and when I say well I mean in a top-performer format. Eventually they will be disciplined enough to complete homework on their own and they won't lie to you and they'll be able to manage college and even work life. Also, they won't be as annoyed by homework as it becomes a part of them.
Parents, if you can't read or write well, that's not a problem. Take the 'back in the day' approach and let them read their work to you and both of you reason together — or send them to someone for help. There is always a way!
Your interest is what matters most to them, because believe it or not, they want to please you.
2. Check their notes every single day and at intervals ask them about something they learnt. You can even do this while you're carrying them home or cooking dinner… or even let them video a little bit of what they learnt and send it to you. Adult life is very busy and can be challenging, but your child should be your number one priority.
3. Keep constant contact with the teacher about your child's behaviour and academic performance. Once your child knows that you are checking in, they will be more determined to do well simply because you are showing an interest. The teacher-parent relationship is very important because a child will not tell you about everything that they are doing at school.
4. Help them to study. Studying is something that no child will ever like just like that. However, if you take part and they see your interest they will be more motivated. Make study cards, make mini quizzes, and ask them questions now and then. Look at what they got wrong in class and help them to understand what to do.
5. Read with them. Start this from they are in the womb. Increase their vocabulary from now and immerse them in the English language. This will help their reading and comprehension skills later on.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't appreciate our Jamaican creole, but we want to develop 21st century children who are able to work either in Jamaica or internationally and can speak in both language styles.
6. Talk to them about life and what is out there; be real with them. Listen to what they have to say. Reason with them so they can better understand. Talk to them from they are toddlers. Explain to them when you give them an answer so that they understand why. This, too, helps to build their critical thinking skills and comprehension levels which are also very critical for exams.
Remember, once you have a child you are basically back at school, so be that light of encouragement, motivation and determination just for them. Remember, they are the ones who will take care of you later on, so make them even better than you.
Simply put, just be a great parent to them — be the force behind them because the truth is, you're the biggest reason why they're even trying.