Pushy parent syndrome irritates other parents, and leave teachers wanting to give detentions…and not to the children, but their parents. But you also want to keep on top of what your child is doing (or isn’t) at school before it’s too late…
So just how do you get the balance right? Here are some tips:
Meet the teachers
‘Meet the teacher’ evenings are a must for all conscientious parents. It’s just as important as parent evenings – your child’s class teacher will definitely notice your absence, and you won’t the chance to really hear what their plans are for your child right from the beginning.
It’s a good chance to get to know the teacher in a less formal way, and that can go very far.
Leave no one out
School secretaries, caretakers, cleaners…you name it, they all have a place. Don’t overlook them or think that they aren’t important – it’s not the facade you put on in front of the headteacher that will score your brownie points when you need it.
Also, your child will build relationships with them as well, year on year, unlike their class teacher who they will have for just one year (or two at a push) so it pays to be nice.
Join the PTA
Yes – the thought of whiling away precious evenings listening to other parents moan and talk nonsense doesn’t always seem appealing. Neither do the stale biscuits and cheap coffee, but the more you get involved the better – and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is often the first port of call.
If you’re very opinionated or see a lot that’s wrong with the school that you could help to change or improve then get involved. Participate in school events and you’ll soon start to enjoy things about the school and get all the gossip that school-gate only mums miss out on.
Make your checks daily
Get into a routine of asking your child how their day has been, what they loved the most and talk through any problems they have before they get too big.
And likewise, find out what they’ve learnt at school, get them into a routine of doing their homework at a set time, and set aside time for reading with and to them. Yes, it can be tiring cracking the whip, but it will pay off.
“There’s nothing like starting the year off on the right path. A lot of problems that seem to suddenly flag up at the end of the year probably started at the beginning of the school year, but parents are so busy these days, they often don’t realise it until it’s reached a pinnacle,” says Joycellyn of Geek School Tutoring.
“Keeping an eye on what children are learning and making sure they have really got to grips with it can go a long way in ensuring that they reach their potential and their targets during the school year.”
Keep a beady eye on the school’s website
If you can’t be as involved as you’d like to be because of work and juggling other commitments, you should make the school website one place that you visit regularly. Many schools write up-to-date news on their websites and even upload extra homework materials onto their websites to support their students, so it’s important to keep on track of that.
This could provide some useful information that you can discuss with your child’s teacher when you are able to meet with them, and it will show that you are on the ball, even if you can’t be there all the time.