It is that time of year when half yearly reports are going home, and NAPLAN testing is over for another year. As parents, we have simple expectations of classroom teachers. We want and expect this critical person to see our child as an individual to whom they can add value through their teaching. We want them to help to develop our child’s potential. We expect the report they write, to identify strengths and weaknesses in our child’s learning, inform us if there are apparent difficulties and delight us with good news. Above all, these reports need be open and honest documents, that inform parents.
Parents are intuitive about their child’s abilities and performance. They often sense that their child is having difficulties. They don’t want to be messed around by a comforting, but sometimes ill informed comment that ” s/he is fine”, when in fact there is some suspicion that the child is not developing as expected. A “wait and see” approach is not appropriate. One would not want a doctor to take such an approach if one was presenting with symptoms of disease.
With physical health, knowing about a difficulty is better than not, as the prospects are much better when problems are identified. ‘Early’ intervention is the best intervention. With learning and school achievement, the same is true. Parents should want to know, and teachers need to tell. While we should not expect the class room teacher to make in depth diagnoses, we should expect them to be alert and communicate any concerns. Open, honest communication along with timely intervention will lead to better outcomes for children.