A number of parents I know, including colleagues, freak out when their children get a “bad” teacher. As a teacher myself, I’d like to reassure such parents and offer a few tips.
– First try to stand back and get a bigger picture. You’ve had bad teachers yourself and you are not a failure. Most kids can get over one year of poor teaching and still do well. Especially with a little help from parents and/or grandparents.
– Don’t try and be your child’s teacher. You are a parent, not his teacher. If you attempt to replace the teacher you’ll probably lose a lot of energy for very little result. Your kid goes to school every day and even if he doesn’t learn as much as he should he still learns something. Like his peers, your child needs to rest and relax after a full school day. However there are lots of things you can do to develop your kid’s potential.
– Books: read to your child, go to the library with her and encourage her to choose both books you can read and books your child can read herself.
– Art: give your child paint, papers, scissors, glue, play-doh and encourage your child to develop his artistic skills, even if you don’t feel artistic yourself. Similarly don’t hesitate to show your child how your camera works from time to time and let him take a few shots.
– Go to the zoo, the museum, an exhibition and use these visits as opportunities to teach your kid a few facts about science, history or art.
– Take your kid to the movie, to the theatre and sometimes sit with her while she watches TV. Talk before and after the show. Encourage her to express her opinions about what she has seen and help her formulate her thoughts beyond “I loved it” or “I didn’t like it”.
– Cook with your child. Cooking is a great way to juggle with figures, measures, temperatures and volumes.
– Look at family albums and talk about your childhood, your parents and ancestors. Name the places and times where you or they lived. Don’t hesitate to use a map or an atlas. Point out to objects that are no longer in use. Tell them who was president or king/queen at the time you mention.
– Use your imagination and welcome unexpected opportunities: a guest from abroad, a religious or secular holiday, anything that can involve your child in talks and preparations.