Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals around. Most are grossly underpaid, under appreciated and over worked. It’s often a thankless job that they do year after year because they’re passionate about educating the next generation and helping children find their own talents, interests and skills.
As the parent of a child in your teacher’s classroom you should feel a responsibility to help him or her in any way you can. Recognizing that many parents have full-time jobs and commitments too, there are still small things that will not go unnoticed by your child’s instructor.
Help everyone start the new school year with gold stars by taking some of these tips from educators:
1. Teachers always need helping hands as there is always something extra to be done. Parents (or grandparents) with free time and a willingness to help at the school are more than welcome! They appreciate having someone to do cutouts, distribute snacks, monitor lunch and recess, prep projects, or even tutor.
2. If you know which supplies your child needs, definitely send those to school with them on the first day.
3. The first couple weeks of school can be stressful for the teacher. Email or call first if you would like a conference (a practice that is helpful year-round). Teachers are happy to meet with you, just not during instructional time!
4. Be familiar with the school dress code so that the teacher doesn’t have to stop class to talk about a school rule that they or their parents should know.
5. Familiarize yourself with the school rules and teacher’s classroom rules so that both you and your child know what the expectations are.
6. If you have an opportunity to meet the teacher before school begins, ask if there is anything they might need for the first day, like snacks or supplies. Follow-up after the first week to see if they overlooked needed items.
7. Let the teacher know early in the year if your schedule allows for chaperoning field trips or other school events.
8. Notify the teacher in your first meeting if your child has any disabilities, special needs, allergies, or other issues that can help the teacher-student relationship throughout the year.
9. Give the teacher a fair chance! Your child may not be overjoyed with their new teacher right away, and you may not have a perfect first impression. Bear in mind the amount of work it takes to launch a new school year. Give the teacher and your student time to adjust before waving any flags of concern.
10. Another simple gesture parents can do that goes a long way with teachers is to make name labels. Using standard address labels, print them with your child’s first and last name in a legible font. The teacher can apply to the child’s things as needed and use them to coordinate groups within the classroom, organize school supplies, label files, identify cubbies or lockers, or any number of other uses.
Start the year off by building a firm foundation for a positive parent-teacher relationship. It will no doubt make the learning environment better for your child, too.