With Labor Day behind us, most students are already in school. Not only is the the first week of school stressful to the students, but it is also stressful to the parents who send their kids into the school building to a new teacher, a new curriculum and new students.
There’s always the classic worries for our kids such as bullying, drugs and other bad influences. But what do you do to make sure you “get along” with your child’s teacher?
I’ve been an educator for ten years. I’ve found that many times, at the beginning of the year, relationships are either built or destroyed because of bad behavior on the parts of parents.
So here are four tips to help parents forge a relationship with their child’s teachers:
The beginning of the year is not only hectic for parents and kids, but it is also hectic for the teachers. We spend hours developing curriculum, decorating classroom, and attending district professional development, but we all love to meet parents. Meeting parents actually gives us teachers insight on the children in our classrooms. So, send an email, tweet or come up to the school and introduce yourself to us! It will give parents a face to a name on their child’s schedule and it will give us teachers a name to a face if we need to contact you in the future!
My son is 12 and to this day my husband and I go and personally meet every teacher that will have a class with him. I not only introduce myself, but I let them know, at the beginning of the year, any academic information they may need about him. I never want there to be a school year where I don’t know even one teacher! These are the people who will be with him every day for 8 hours a day. It is imperative we know his teachers!
With budget cuts, teacher layoffs and new curriculums, teachers need all of the help we can get. So find creative ways to support your teacher. We love “care packages” for the classroom full of essentials like: copier paper, band aids, pencils, pens,etc. I can’t count how many supplies we go through from our own budget so every ream of paper helps! Also support is not always financial. Many times it can be helping reinforce skills learned in the classroom.
If I’m going over “Romeo and Juliet” in class, then it’s always helpful for parents to review the play and go over it with their children at night. Even parents of younger children can get involved by reviewing Dolche Sight Words and numbers, and by having their children read every night. Whatever support you can offer is needed, regardless of the grade or subject level. Just ask your child’s teacher when you meet with them at the beginning of the year.
With my two younger children getting ready to start elementary school, I know that the school supply lists will be extensive so I make sure to get a few extra items so that the teacher isn’t forced to go in their pockets for what my child needs!
Teachers get one planning period a day and during those 50 minutes there is no way everything can be accomplished. To help your child’s teacher, volunteer to come in the classroom and help in any way possible. Many educators need a Room Parent (even in upper grades) that can help file papers, call other parents and enter discipline logs for them. It doesn’t matter if you come and volunteer an hour a month the time is appreciated and needed with how much administrative duties teachers are made to do on a daily basis. In addition, this is a perfect way to get to know the teacher better and learn how the classroom flows in order to better support your child.
When my son was in elementary school, he LOVED to see me or his father at the school. However, now he’s mortified when he sees me in his middle school. That’s okay! I still volunteer at games in the office and in the classroom. I tell him it’s my responsiblity to be in the school as much as I can so that the school knows that we care!
Throughout the school year, there may be decisions about your child regarding discipline, academic work, and socialization with the other kids. Please support your support your child’s teacher on these matters. When you disagree with a decision, schedule a conference with the teacher and come to an agreement about any decisions regarding your child.
When my son was having trouble learning to read, his first grade teacher and I sat down and developed a plan that I could use at home and that she used at school to help him. Without working hand and hand with her, he would of been another victim of poor reading habits! I always remember it takes a village to raise a child! Do your part!
In the end, the only way to “save” our children is to make those relationships with teachers who are with your child on a daily basis.
BMWK family, do you get along with your child’s teacher? Why or why not? Please share the ways in which you volunteer at your child’s school (as it may give some other parents a few ideas.)