You're the expert on your own child, their habits, their learning style, their schedule, and other aspects of their life. At the same time, children often look at school as a place to test different boundaries. Children are smart enough to see if the same rule or even just a way of doing things applies in two different environments.
Often, this testing is very healthy. It's a way of learning about their own capabilities, as well as the expectations others have of them. It's useful to be able to keep certain habits consistent or to help them in areas where that testing of boundaries becomes unhealthy or detrimental.
Reasons Why a Child Might Hide Difficulty
If a teacher is trying to help a child work through an academic or social struggle a parent doesn't know about, it can be useful to coordinate an approach parents prefer or think will work best.
In this case, a child might not bring up the concern themselves for any number of reasons. They might feel ashamed of the struggle and not want to bring it up at home. They might want to only open up about it once they've overcome the problem themselves. There's a strive to independence among many children that can be very healthy, but sometimes it can come with self-pressure that a student will guard carefully.
If a parent sees that struggle at home, but the teacher doesn't recognize it at school, this can happen for a number of reasons, too. They might want to fit a certain role they have with peers, or an expectation they feel a teacher has of them. Again, children don't always want to bring up their own problems, and they often don't recognize certain struggles they face until much later.
Communication Also Reveals Opportunity
That said, parent-teacher communication isn't always about a difficulty or a struggle. It can be about achievement and success. Some students hit ceilings or need a little bit more progression. Some of the most advanced students can begin to become disengaged if the learning material isn't a challenge.
By the same token, students can be similarly socially advanced. Social awareness may be something that comes naturally to them. Awareness of others, empathy, and the complex social understanding that comes with these may be something they engage with naturally.
In both cases, students may wish to take on tasks or responsibilities that utilize these skills. Communication between parents and teachers can help give students extra challenges and paths to grow along.
Forms of Parent-Teacher Communication
Parent-teacher communication comes in many forms. Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the development of their children. Yet don't just think that you have to wait for parent-teacher conferences!
You can regularly communicate with teachers by phone or e-mail as well. Check with each teacher to determine what method they prefer — and discuss what your own preferences are. Turnaround time should be reasonable, but please understand an immediate response may not always be available unless it's an emergency. Teachers educate many children, and may need to look up information, check their notes, or go back through past homework and tests to be able to give you the most informed communication.
This communication works best when your turnaround time is reasonable as well. No one's available 24-7, but if you let something sit a week, understand that a follow-up communication may be appropriate.
A Team Approach
The best way to discuss any issues or opportunities is to do so as a team. Teachers must understand that parents are in charge of their children's development, and parents should understand that teachers may have information or observations that don't always match their own. Teachers also have training that helps inform the situation; they can provide parents with a wider array of tools to help adjust or advance the developmental path their child is taking.
Students can also feel bolstered and encouraged when parents and teachers are able to develop a consistent, reliable path. If what's learned at school is reinforced at home, it can be retained in a more meaningful way. If what's expected at home is reinforced at school, it gives a child structure and reassurance.
Flexibility and adaptation are needed for anyone's development. When parents and teachers can make adjustments together instead of going in two different directions, it helps healthy development. Parent-teacher communication is the key that opens up the door to growth.