I know there are an infant number of schooling options out there today, so I want to encourage those sending kids back to school this month. Since I currently homeschool my preschooler(s) and would be of no use to you, I went to someone who would be a better resource for Christian mommies utilizing the public school system.
Today I have a bonafide teacher who’s working in the ‘trenches’. Megan lives in Raleigh, NC where is she is beginning her 10th year of teaching elementary school. She is very involved with her church family at North Wake Church. She continues to strive towards using her singleness to the glory of God, while looking forward with hope of someday being a wife and a mommy. She’s also my beautiful sister-in-law! I know, I scored all the way around ;o) She blogs over at “Lady In Waiting”.
Well I don’t know about you all, but this summer sure did fly by and now it’s time once again for the little people in your life to return to school. The beginning of a new school year can bring many challenges that you maybe didn’t expect or maybe you expect them to work out a little differently than they did. I want to be the first to tell you that I don’t have children of my own, but I have taught for 9 years and I have experienced many of these challenges first-hand on the school side of things. I wanted to provide a little window into the world of a teacher and how you as a parent you can help your child navigate through the school year.
- WE are a TEAM: As a teacher, I want your support and your input. Working together to build strong two-way communication is key to helping your child succeed. You know your child in a way that his/her teacher does not. Keep in mind that your child is one of 26 or more in a class room and a teacher may not be able to respond to your communication as quick as you would like. This doesn’t mean the teacher is ignoring you or that they don’t want to respond. It just may mean that there are situations out of our control. Most teachers will get in touch with you as soon as possible and if for some reason it hasn’t happened, be patient and reach out to them again. To be honest, if they’re like me, they may have just thought about needing to do it so much that they actually thought I did it already J! I have found that a quick email is much easier for me to respond to in a timely manner than a phone call during the day.
- ASK QUESTIONS: I had a colleague in my early years of teaching who would say, “I’ll believe half of what they say about home, if you’ll believe half of what you hear about school.” I always laughed about this, but in some ways it’s true. Many times situations get reported through a child’s perspective and it can be slightly off-base from the actual events. Please feel free to call your child’s teacher and ask to clarify something. Then, if you are displeased with the response go to an administrator After contacting the teacher. But I promise you, most of the time, there’s a good explanation for some situation that seems strange and if you ask questions, you may find out the rest of the story.
Also, if you don’t understand a teacher’s expectations, ASK. Teachers would love to help clarify when we weren’t clear to you or your child. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten questions about homework because we are no longer teaching things the way you and I learned them.
- PARENT CONFERENCES: I know you want to know how your child is doing, and teacher would love the opportunity to discuss this with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for a parent teacher conference, outside of the ones that may need to occur around report card time. Schedule a time where you and your child’s teacher can come together to work together on helping your child succeed. Teachers will appreciate your intentionality; not trying to get all the one-on-one information in at Open House or some other evening event. Again, ask questions. Education has its own language and if teachers aren’t careful, we can slip into using jargon others don’t use and understand. We use this lingo with our colleagues and we sometimes forget that others don’t use those same terms! If your child’s teacher is sharing information with you and begins using terms that are unfamiliar, ASK! I promise they don’t mean to confuse parents.
- VOLUNTEER, GET INVOLVED: If you are choosing to send your child to school, being visible and present is one great way to have a successful year. I know this might be difficult especially if you work outside the home or have smaller ones at home. I’ve know some mom’s to find another fellow mom who is willing to trade off childcare so that they can both volunteer at their children’s school. It’s a huge blessing to teachers to have volunteers who are consistent in coming and who don’t mind doing things like cutting paper or making copies. These tasks may seem small, but to us as teachers, they are time-saving treasures.
Field trips are something that is very stressful for teachers, so if you can commit to chaperone you soon become one of our BFFs!
I hope these where helpful hints for having a successful new school year! If you’re a parent who has some fun ways you get involved or a teacher who has a few tricks up your sleeve, share away in the comment section below!
Come back tomorrow for 7 Homework Helps from the Teacher's Desk!
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