Dear Parents of Elementary School Children,
Let’s immediately address the elephant in the room and just get straight to your question:
“Is my child being challenged enough?”
As a second grade teacher who hears this from dozens of parents each year, I am begging you. Please stop asking this question.
Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that you only want the very best education for your child. You don’t want them to be bored, you know they are incredibly intelligent, and you just want them to live up their full potential. On behalf of teachers everywhere, let me answer: Yes, your child is being challenged enough.
Teachers are incredibly skilled at creating multilevel lessons.
You might not even realize it, but teachers naturally develop their daily lessons and activities to meet the needs of multiple students with different skill sets. They are also constantly adjusting their lessons to meet individual needs.
Here are some of the things I do for your child on a daily basis:
- Take a difficult task and make it seem fun and exciting.
- Encourage them to read a more difficult text without making them feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the end.
- Challenge them to think more deeply about the characters and the problems in the story than they ever thought possible.
- Give them a math problem and challenge them to find a way to solve it by using all of the strategies that they know, not just one.
- Offer them opportunities to teach each other how to use those same strategies.
- Teach them to research and write about a topic that they love; therefore they don’t even recognize it as work.
Throughout all of this, I am teaching them the skills they need to be successful in my class, and I am also teaching them the skills they need to be ready for future classes. I’m not just teaching your child reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. My goal is to teach them to truly love learning.
We’re building a foundation together.
Your child is only seven.
Your child has plenty of time to find a passion and a strength and decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They have plenty of time to find an intrinsic motivation and desire to learn more about a certain subject area, in which case they will most likely find ways to challenge themselves. I’m confident all of this will happen in part because I’m really confident that I’m good at my job.
By questioning whether or not I’m challenging your child, you’re essentially asking if I’m doing my job.
Try asking positive questions instead.
If you do want to get involved in your child’s learning, here are some other questions you can ask instead:
- Is my child kind?
- Does my child try their best?
- Does my child enjoy learning?
- Is my child happy?
- Does my child persevere through difficult tasks?
- Does my child have friends?
- Is my child compassionate toward others?
- Does my child have something that they excel at?
- Does my child follow directions?
- Is my child responsible?
- Does my child smile and laugh?
- Does my child have a growth mindset?
- Is my child curious?
- What does my child love to read?
- Does my child pay attention?
- Is my child respectful toward their teachers and their peers?
- Does my child show creativity in the classroom?
- Does my child like learning?
If you ask these questions instead, I guarantee that you will discover new things about your child and find more ways to support their learning. So please, stop asking if your child’s teacher is doing their job. Trust your child’s teacher and support them in their efforts to help your child grow and develop into becoming the very best possible version of themselves.
Second Grade Teacher
This article was submitted to WeAreTeachers by a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous.
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