Children being Called on in Class

The first thing to do is to forget that you ever thought that.

To assume that your child is never (literally) called on in class is to assume that firstly, your child’s perception and memory are 100% accurate, and secondly to assume that their teacher is unprofessional.

We hear this all the time: “I know my child/My child doesn’t lie….” and frankly it is better to tune out when you do. Of course parents know their children. But frequently, they do not know them in school. It is very common for little angels at home to be little devils at school and vice versa. It is also common for children to be wrong. The sense of fairness is extremely acute in children – fairness towards oneself, of course. And so it can happen that not being called on as much as you would like translates into “never” being called on in the mind of the child.

Parents who really do know their children should therefore discount the idea that they are never called on.

Here is a tip for free: if you would like a productive relationship with your child’s teacher, never make an assumption that they are unprofessional, especially not based on non-peer reviewed whinging from your child. The resultant meeting will be frosty, hard to resolve, and your dissatisfaction with the school will only increase.

So what to do if you are genuinely concerned?

Firstly, keep a mental note of how often the child makes the complaint and if necessary write some of it down. The best way of going into any possibly difficult meeting with a teacher is to be armed with evidence.

Secondly, ask the teacher informally how things are going and ask casually whether your child answers enough questions – or even asks enough questions in class. That way you are planting a seed in the teacher’s mind and keeping yourself up to date with what they say. Again, if you are concerned, note it down.

Thirdly, schedule a meeting if and only if you are still convinced that something is wrong. And do not make your opening salvo “you never ask Johnny anything”. Mention that you are worried that Johnny isn’t taking an active enough part in lessons. By framing your concerns in this way you will find it easier to squeeze out what you want – ie an undertaking from the teacher to ask Johnny as often as possible. Make sure you pencil in a follow-up meeting in which you can discuss and monitor progress.

Finally – remember that the teacher wants the best education for your child, just as you do. So storming in with unfounded allegations is counter-productive. And do bear in mind that although little Johnny would never, ever lie – he may well be wrong sometimes…