As you may already know it’s Back to School time again. We’ve already covered ways to prepare for the start of a new school year and of course ways to prep your little one for Kindergarten. But here are a few tips on something that can make or break your and your child’s entire school year: dealing with the teacher.
An open line of communication is vital between parents and teacher in order to give your child the best possible chance at a good school year as possible. That open line will not only be good for your child but it will go along way in helping you keep your sanity. So if getting to know your child’s teacher.
- Go to Orientation – Many schools have an orientation/open house a day or two before school starts. This is your first opportunity to not only find out your child’s teacher but to hopefully meet them face to face. It’s usually informal so you can just introduce yourself and your child. Though this might not be the chance to have an in depth talk with the teacher it helps you make eye contact and at least get familiar with him or her.
- Drop off or Pick up – Though this isn’t always possible for every family, it really helps gives you an idea of what the teacher is like if you are able to see her face to face at morning drop- off or afternoon pick-up each day. It may seem like a little thing, but it can be big. It’s in those moments that a teacher can casually keep you in the loop when it comes to things going on in the classroom with your child. Sometimes you can catch and remedy small situations before they escalate into bigger situations.
- Volunteer – Again, volunteering in the classroom on a weekly basis is difficult for a lot of (if not the majority of) parents. But, a lot of times teachers will have volunteer jobs that can be done at home like stapling projects or grading papers, etc. This gives you a chance to be a part of the classroom and develop a regular relationship with the teacher. Also, try to take a day off here and there to chaperone field trips or help during classroom parties.
- Email – A lot of teachers and schools have openly embraced email systems and use them generously. Take advantage! I’ve found a lot of security in emailing my child’s teacher and getting a same day response. It’s a fabulous way to stay in touch with your child’s teacher and stay involved in what’s going on.
- Ask for the Lowdown – If you have parent friends your trust that has an older child, ask them the lowdown on your child’s new teacher. Sometimes the playground lowdown can be informative. But remember to take it with a grain of salt as well. Not every teacher is a perfect fit for every child. One child’s perfect teacher may be another child’s biggest challenge. So feel free to get the lowdown, but don’t base your judgment on it.
- Attend Back to School Night – This is one of the single most important evenings in the school year. This is usually the first chance to really get a look at your child’s classroom and what kind of curriculum the teacher has planned for the year. This is also the first chance you’ll get to really chat with the teacher as well. Now is the time to ask about any minor concerns you might have about your child that don’t warrant a special conference.
- Respect the Teacher – Now that you know the teacher’s routine, rules and outline for the year, respect it. Every teacher has an idea of what works for their classroom and as a parents it’s your job to trust the teacher’s ability to do so (until they give you a real reason to think otherwise).
- Talk to Your Child – Take time at the end of every day to talk about your day and ask your child about his. This is a very vital way for parents to keep abreast of what’s going on at school.
- Use the Line of Communication – If you are concerned with something going on in the classroom, whether it has to do with another child, the teacher or schoolwork, don’t wait to ask to talk to the teacher. If you’ve already established an open line of communication it will be easier to ask questions when they come up. You’ll also then know when a simple email, chat after school or a scheduled conference is the right answer for any given situation.
- Be Nice – Teaching is one of the most challenging and hardest jobs in the world. It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher. Get to know your child’s teacher and be respectful of the classroom. Sometimes the teachers who seem the quirkiest or strictest at first glance turn out to be one of the most beloved people in you and your child’s life.