I tend to be an open book. It usually only takes a few conversations between you and I for me to start telling you a little bit about how I grew up and the events that happened along the way, both positive and negative. I don’t do this because I think my life is that amazing, but because my story has made me who I am today. If you want to know me, you have got to know what helped guide me into who I am today. If you don’t care about my background, you can’t truly appreciate who I am now.
“If you don’t care about my background, you can’t truly appreciate who I am now.”
That principle doesn’t change no matter how young or old we are. It is what we have gone through, our perceptions of those events and how we have reacted that define the person we are today. What happens, though, when it is a child – a child who may not have the language to share or understanding to define what they have walked through in their life? And what happens when that child goes to school and sits in class with a teacher who desperately wants to help, but is missing a majority of the story?
This is where communication between parents and teacher become vital. Now before I go any farther, let me recognize two facts.
- First, in a foster/adopted situation, you may not know some or most of your child’s story. Do not condemn yourself because of that, question your ability to parents or feel like your child’s education is doomed. That is not the case.
- Second, as a teacher I respect your decisions to hold information back. Without a doubt you are the one who knows what is best for your child and what sort of information I have no business knowing.
“…the more I know as your child’s teacher about what has made them who they are, the better I will be able to help your child.”
However, the more I know as your child’s teacher about what has made them who they are, the better I will be able to help your child. If you were to tell me that your child spent the first year of his life not receiving enough nutrition due to neglect, I know the limits that puts on brain development and can immediately put strategies and interventions in place that will help combat those deficiencies. If you were to tell me your child has been in five different homes over the last two years, I would know that the first thing I need to do with your daughter is build her trust and develop a relationship before she will ever care about what I’m teaching her.
“Help me understand and help your child the very best I possibly can.”
If you don’t tell me this type of information, I have no clue and am doing a disservice to your child by not putting the best possible supports and strategies in place to help them learn and grow academically, socially and emotionally. Help me understand and help your child the very best I possibly can.