Gifted and Talented students have unique needs and their best advocates are parents. How does a parent best address problems or issues with educators? The first thing parents need to do is establish a good line of communication with their child's teachers. Make sure you know how that educator will communicate with you and the most effect method to communicate to that educator. Educators and parents are overloaded with responsibilities and sources of information. Being able to determine whether notes, phone calls, emails or face to face meetings is the best, will save a lot of time and frustration.
Both parties also need to recognize that what one member of the team (parent-educator) may deem to be highly urgent and of top priority may not be so for the other member. A family may be going through a crisis and a missing homework may seem petty. On the other hand, your child's trauma over hurt feelings, may not be a priority for an educator who has other students experiencing violence, divorce or poverty. All parties need to be respectful and recognize that we come to the issue from different perspectives.
Both parties should try to communicate directly. Educators and parents can be very difficult to get in contact with, but working through a third party can cause more problems. Every effort should be made to work together first. Third parties such as Principals, Special Education Directors, Superintendents, and State Department officials should be a back up when the issue is not settled to satisfaction. Many issues can be easily solved by working in cooperation with the educators serving your child.
Lastly, how should parents and educators deal with the intense emotions involved. When our children are involved, people can get very emotional. Parents love their children and want to protect them from hurt and disappointment. Educators want to do what is best for children as well. We got in the business, because we feel called to help children grow and develop. The child's best interests is why both parties should work together and develop a solution that respects both sides. Try to look at the issue from the other party's view point and don't get stuck in only one possible solution. There may be a compromise that will work for all.
Issues and problems will occur. It takes a whole community to raise a child. We each have strengths, talents and roles that help in raising a child. Respecting each other and addressing the issues with an open creative mind will ensure that your child has the best possible advocates for them- parents and educators.