Advocating For Change in the Classroom

In a school system where Gifted Children can sometimes fall through the cracks and not receive the attention that the deserve, advocating for your gifted child can be an essential part in insuring that your child receives the best education possible. However, advocating can be a daunting task, especially for those who go in under prepared.

In order to insure that your advocating experience goes as you hope, and to make sure that you come away from your advocating with a meaningful result that you think should satisfy your gifted child, it is important to follow a few rules.

1. Know what you are trying to accomplish. If you go into a meeting with a teacher or administrator just wanting to see change, but not knowing what you or your child wants to see change, you are much less likely to walk away from your meeting feeling satisfied that you accomplished what you set out to accomplish.

2. Voice what you would like to see happen. The easiest way for change to occur, is if you come forward with the changes you would like to see occur. Often teachers and administrators will recognize that the situation you are trying to change should be changed, but often in order for something to happen, you have to take the initiative and offer a suggestion as a solution to your problem.

3. Do not give up. Even leave your first meeting feeling unsatisfied, do not drop the cause. Often it will take many meetings with different levels of management in order to make your point across. If you have failed to get through to your students teacher, set up a meeting with the department chair or your school’s principal. Above all, make sure you do not let the issue drop because then nothing will change.

4. Once a change has been agreed upon, follow through with it. Once you have reached a conclusion, and you feel satisfied with the change that will take place, make sure that you follow up with the teacher or administrator in order to make sure that your ideas have been implemented as were agreed upon. Talk with your child and see if the change has brought about a new outlook on school, and if the previous problem has been solved. If the answer is yes, then good job, make sure to keep comunicating with your child, as well as your child’s teacher to make sure that no furthure problems arise. If the answer is no, try and discover what went wrong, discuss the problem furhtur with your child, and approach the teacher again to see if first, the change is being implemented; and second, to see if you can fix the problem of the current situation.

During this whole process, make sure to keep your initiative and to communicate with your child. As the change is being planned and implemented make sure to keep your child engaged and active in their school work. It makes your case a lot stronger if your child is performing well in the class that you are advocating for change in. Throughout the whole process, make sure to keep a level head, you do not want to burn any bridges with your child’s teacher or with the administrators at your school; however, you do not want to stop asking for change. Remember, “Wishing is fine, asking is faster.”

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