The 2018-19 school year marks my 7th year of teaching. And with my master’s in secondary English education, whatever grade you can assume I’ve taught, I’ve done more… Well, most of it. From early education to middle school and now I’ve been steadily teaching high school for three years.
And as this month marks a fresh school year, here are a few tips on how to get your kids started on the right foot with his or her teachers, no matter the age:1. Get to know your child’s (or their favorite) teacher. My daughter is only 16-months-old, but I make it a point to know my child’s teacher’s names and say them often when I pick her up from daycare. I always ask about her teachers, too, (how their day went) and make sure to know a little about them so they know that I care. I’ve randomly dropped off homemade baked brownies, I’ve written cards to the main teachers and given them Starbucks cards…
Because I’ve been through the long, stressful day where I’m not getting paid much, but I put my heart and soul into the lesson or into the kids I care about, and sometimes… I don’t feel appreciated back from students or parents.
Think about it: These teachers are helping you raise your child. Celebrate them and help motivate them to focus on the developmental success of your child.
It goes both ways, though. A great way to start this new school year is by sitting with your child and writing “welcome letter” to their teacher. Start your child off on the teacher’s right foot by sharing your child’s goals, fears, and aspirations for the school year.
2. Jump ahead of the curve and donate items schools never supply.
Supplies in any school district is scarce, no matter how well funded it might be. Instead of asking the teachers what supplies they need before the list goes out, just jump the gun and supply teachers with the ALWAYS needed supplies: boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, lined paper, ball point pens, No. 2 pencils, and Expo markers. And, if you’re not sure what supplies those might be, ask your school’s administration.
3. Invest in a weekly agenda for your child… And then check on it every night.
This one throws me every year. I once taught at a school where an agenda program was introduced to our 7th and 8th graders. It proved successful student academic improvement and parent involvement.
Now, I teach at a school where no agenda is introduced for students to track their project due dates. This is natural; these students are in high school and are expected to be more independent… Although, they’re not really showed HOW to transition after middle school to keep it up.
Even though homework isn’t highlighted much at the school where I teach, students are expected to submit final projects and take test dates by a certain time. With that, I always suggest an agenda for my students so they can write down their due dates without fail (or signing up for Google docs so they receive alerts on their phones).
With that, it surprises me when I have parent/teacher conference, and parents are shocked that they didn’t know about a student’s project or assignment where a student didn’t necessarily didn’t do well because “they didn’t know.”
Make sure to check on your child’s agenda daily (or for high schoolers, once a week) so you are always on top of your child’s academic success.
Yes, it’s important to foster independence, but it’s also important to guide your student towards planning success. (Because planning continues to happen after high school, college, and well into the work place — and as moms we know planning is our lifeline!)
Parents/guardians: This year’s going to be challenging, enlightening, and rewarding! Remember to always reach out to your child’s teacher for advice about their academic and behavioral success (since they’re the ones with your child all day long!).
Best luck on a productive 2018-19 school year!