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I’m an ex-teacher and this what I REALLY mean when I say your child has ‘potential’

DEPENDING on your child's behaviour, parents' evening can either be stressful or an absolute joy - and sometimes they can also be quite confusing.

There can be a lot of information to take in, and sometimes it can be hard to decipher what your children's teacher is trying to tell you.

Parents' evening can be an eye-opening experience Credit: Getty

Here, 'Super Headteacher' Leon Hady explains common phrases that your child’s teacher may use during a parents evening, and what they really mean...

An insight into your child's life

During his teaching career, dad-of-three Leon turned a failing inner city school into Ofsted Outstanding, and has now set up his own e-learning platform called Guide Plus.

Speaking about the importance of attending parents' meetings, he says: "Parents’ evening offers a key insight into your child’s life at school.

"From their academic achievements, their interests, and their friendships, what your child’s teacher divulges on parents’ evening can help create a picture of the person your child is when they are not at home."

'They have potential'

Having potential is always a good thing - but sometimes your child may need a bit of encouragement to fulfil it.

Leon says: "This is a phrase often used when a child is doing the bare minimum expected despite having the capability to do more.

"This phrase is used as a means of letting the parent know that as a teacher, I know their child could push themselves more but is choosing not to."

'They can be very enthusiastic in class'

It's also important for children to find the right balance between being enthusiastic and learning how to follow guidelines.

Leon explains: "What a teacher really means here is that whilst enthusiasm is a fantastic trait, it can wear thin if a child is unable to follow the rules.

"For example, shouting out answers in class or feeling upset if another child is chosen to share their answer instead."

“They're a little on the sensitive side'

Learning to navigate school life can be, at times, overwhelming for even the most confident children - so if your little one is described as being 'sensitive' it could mean they need a little support emotionally.

Leon adds: "This can often be used to describe children in a class who may struggle to deal with their emotions, whether that is in social situations in the playground or within the classroom."

'I would love to hear more from your child'

Confidence can also be a huge hurdle for kids - so being able to encourage them to find their voice is important.

Leon says: "I’ve used this to describe children within the class who I’ve noticed are doing their best to avoid answering questions and seem to be lacking self-confidence/worried about answering something incorrectly.

"It’s often here that I’d take the opportunity to remind the child that their opinion is valued!"

'They're full of energy, we just need to find an outlet'

If a teacher was having a few difficulties with a child not concentrating, this may be the phrase they would use.

Leon says: "When a child is disruptive in class, fidgets, and finds it difficult to focus, this phrase can often be diplomatically used to prompt a conversation between teacher and parent.

"This is helpful to find ways or strategies to support and help improve behaviour and concentration within the learning environment."

'They're very eager to please'

Some children will also constantly look for reassurance and validation from their teacher.

Leon adds: "They're very eager to please - this is a phrase to describe a child who may seek their teacher’s attention and/or praise constantly."

Meanwhile, Leon has also recently revealed what to do if you're concerned your teenager is hiding something.

Receiving feedback from teachers is crucial to understand how well your child is doing Credit: Alamy

Former teacher Leon Hady has revealed what the common phrases used by teachers really mean Credit: PROVIDED


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