It’s conference time at many of our schools, and I want to chat with you about approaching them in a different light, especially if you have a right-brain thinker or a child with ADD or ADHD. While it’s crucial to hear the teacher’s feedback on how your child is doing in the classroom, it’s equally important to engage in a conversation about your child as a right-brain thinker. Teachers follow their district’s curriculum, but the way they implement it can vary greatly. Right-brain thinkers and kids with ADD are undoubtedly bright and capable, but traditional teaching methods might not always do justice to their abilities. Some teachers adapt their methods for nontraditional learners, while others might not. Conference time provides an excellent opportunity to collaborate and find ways for your child to thrive.
Here are some points for you and the teacher to discuss regarding your right-brain thinker:
- Celebrate the strengths: Start the conversation by highlighting your child’s talents and strengths. Often, we focus too much on the challenges faced by right-brained or ADD kids. By acknowledging their gifts, you can approach any difficulties from a place of strength rather than deficit. This perspective benefits both you and the teacher, reminding you of what’s working well.
- Identify challenging subjects: Determine which subjects pose the most significant challenges for your child. For many visual and kids with ADD, math, reading, writing, and test-taking can be tough. Understanding where the struggles lie is the first step in finding ways to help. For instance, if math is problematic, inquire about the teaching methods being used in that subject.
- Classroom setup: Consider your child’s position in the classroom. Is your child sitting close enough to the teacher, or are they further away? Right-brain thinkers can be easily distracted, so their seating arrangement can play a crucial role. Ensure that they have a good view of the board and teacher. Additionally, inquire about subjects like gym, art, and music, which often suit right-brain kids well. Find out if there are opportunities for movement during the day, including recess.
- Know the teacher: Build a rapport with your child’s teacher. Think of them as a partner working alongside you for your child’s success. Teachers possess valuable insights into the school’s resources and policies. However, it’s essential to establish that you’re both on the same team. Each teacher is unique, and understanding their approach and expectations can help you navigate the school year more successfully.
- Homework organization: While discussions about homework typically revolve around a child’s performance, understanding the organization process can be equally helpful. Ask about how assignments are communicated, when they’re noted down, and where. If the process seems complicated and your child struggles to keep up, they might start at a disadvantage. The teacher might be able to provide a printout or assist with assignment notebooks. Ensure that you and your child use a central location for homework assignments at home.
- Advocate for your right-brain thinkers: Our education system often focuses on left-brain, language-based learning and relies heavily on testing. This doesn’t align with how right-brained kids learn best. However, school requirements are essential, so it’s crucial to speak up and advocate for your child. If you’re unsure how to do this effectively, you can find some tips in my article on parent advocates.
Always remember, Parent-Teacher Conferences are meant to foster a better understanding between you, the teacher, and the classroom environment. If necessary, you can request additional conferences throughout the school year. Keep in mind that you’re all on the same team, working towards your child’s success. Maintain open and friendly communication while collaborating to develop effective strategies.
Do you have any tips on communicating with your child’s teacher? Feel free to share them in the comments below.