book review: The Overly Honest Teacher by Meredith Essalat M.Ed

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If your child’s teacher emails or calls you with concerns, please listen… If you launch into a defensive tirade, we’re not working together. Listen, Evaluate, Collaborate.

I want to say as a parent myself, I enjoyed this book. My son is eleven and is an honor roll student; always have been. My daughter is six, and she has been kicked out of preschool, daycare and was on the verge of being held back last year in Kindergarten due to bad behavior. This book is a Godsend.

Honestly, this book was a real eye-opener. I have a great relationship with my daughter’s first-grade teacher. We email almost daily, and we have bi-weekly phone calls about her academically and her behavior. That open communication between the parent and teacher works, and it does help. As a parent, you can see what the teacher goes through on her end and vice versa, and that’s where the teamwork comes in. You meet in the middle and figure out what will be most effective in reaching a common goal you both have set for the child, and that’s what this book teaches you.

This book also talks about a child’s online presence. Sadly, she has to suggest to a parent that they need to monitor their child’s online activity, but it needs to be said. I, personally, do not allow my children to have any social media account. Every household is different, and there are great tips on how to handle the child’s social media presence.

If we want our children to be able to vocalize how they are feelingโ€”to own the humanity of their emotions, their opinions, their fears, and views of the worldโ€”then we have to model how to do this, and do it well.

One of my favorite suggestions/strategies were conversation starters and the journal. There are out suggestions for finding out more about your child’s day, how to get them to open up to you, and how to get them to feel comfortable talking to you. The book also mentions journaling to help improve their writing skills, and it also can be a form of release for the child.

This book not only can help how a child performs at school but home as well. Everything starts at home. How your child behaves and handles certain situations all begin at home. Ultimately, a child cannot be truly successful unless the parent-teacher relationship exists, and that’s the real lesson of this book.

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Meredith Essalat
Meredith Essalat

Meredith Essalat is a K-8 school principal in San Francisco, Calif. and author of โ€œThe Overly Honest Teacher.โ€ With a career in academia that has spanned more than 17 years, she started off in collegiate student activities before moving into both elementary and secondary academic communities. She spent nine years in middle school education as both teacher and Dean of Middle School Curriculum. In each of these opportunities, she witnessed the gamut of the scholastic, social, and developmental experiences of today’s student. She possesses a BA in Mass Communication, a California-Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and a second M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Essalat resides in California with her husband, Cameron.

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