Starting the school year right
Can you believe that summer is over and a new school year has arrived? Summer seems to fly by faster and faster each year. I recall starting school after Labor Day in my youth, but here we are in September settling into the new school year.
I don’t know about you, but I always want to make a good impression on my child’s teacher. I’d like to do all I can to make my life (and my child’s life) easier during the school year. I believe that accomplishing this entails doing all I can to start off building a good relationship with my child’s teacher from day one.
We all know that teachers work hard. I would like nothing more than to make teacher’s lives easier, so I have compiled a list of suggestions I have received from a few awesome teachers I know on how to make a great impression on your child’s teacher.
Here are some ideas on how to kick off the new year on the right foot according to two Haynes Academy teachers, Jeremy Lampo and Christine Berry:
Get into a rhythm: Parents should take care of things that they have control over. Get your child to bed at a decent time, and make sure they get into a steady routine at the beginning of school.
The supply list isn’t optional: Make sure your kids have everything listed on the supply list. “Even though it may say paper towels for an English class, and you’re thinking why on earth does the teacher need paper towels, believe me we do. Spills happen or maybe the teacher throws a popcorn party one day or maybe they run out of paper towels in the bathroom (this happens frequently), and it’s great to just grab a roll and not think twice about it. Same goes for Kleenex, wet wipes, even band aids. Teachers are given NOTHING, but are expected to be prepared for everything.” – Jeremy Lampo
Open House: Attend open house and introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Please remember that open house is not a parent teacher conference, but rather a simple meet and greet.
Homework: Make sure that your child completes their homework assignments on time and follows classroom procedures.
The Airing of Grievances: Email the teacher if a concern arises rather than post on social media or complain to friends. The simplest way to get an issue resolved is to go directly to the teacher. Airing grievances online, while tempting, may make you look bad and embarrass the teacher.
Honor Requests: Support the teacher’s requests. For instance, sending in healthy snacks, not bringing snacks that contain peanuts, etc.
Open Communication: Teachers love communication with parents, and they do remember the students that parents consistently communicate with them. It’s always good to check in with an email at the beginning of the year to show your support. This email is not a good time to tell the teacher your student has never been good in math or never made anything lower than a B in English. A little tip: Emails should be short and sweet. Teachers love your children but do not have time to read long emails during their thirty-minute lunch.
Be Visible: Volunteer for the school’s Co-op or PTO and contribute to the fundraisers, but remember, if you have interaction with your son/daughter’s teacher during these times, it is not the opportunity for a parent teacher conference. These are moments to support your child’s teacher and your child’s school. Treat your child’s teacher like you would your physician, a professional. If you ran into your doctor at the grocery store you wouldn’t ask for a diagnosis, would you? Again tempting, but bad idea. I learned this the hard way, trust me.
Offer Assistance: When Jeremy Lampo runs into his child’s teachers during school events, he always asks the teachers if they need anything, how they are on supplies and whether there is anything he can help the teacher with. Personally, I know I want my child’s teacher to never run out of Clorox wipes! Ahem, rotovirus.
Follow Through: If the teacher says your child should be reading every day, then make every effort to do so even though it is not necessarily “for a grade.” The best way for a teacher to gauge your child’s progress is with the understanding that everything is being done at home that is supposed to be done.
I hope you find some of these tips useful, and I wish you and your children a fantastic school year!