In her first column post on our blog, she is sharing with us her unique perspective on parenting school age kids from a teacher's perspective.
Thank you Carrie and welcome aboard!
I am working on my ninth year of being in education. For seven years, I taught middle school Language Arts, and for the last two years I've been working as an Instructional Aide. Early on in my career, I learned what kind of parent I wanted to be, and what behaviors I wanted to avoid when it came time for my own children to start school. As we are in the middle of the school year, it isn't too late to better your relationship with your child's teacher and become more supportive. Here are some thoughts:
- Be a cheerleader. When it comes to my children's teacher, I am her biggest fan. I make sure to use positive language when referring to her, and talk up the projects or assignments she wants my kids to do. I might not be excited about the project, or I might dread another week of spelling words. However, I don't complain about it in front of the boys.
- Your child's teacher spends more time with him or her during the day than you do. If your family is busy like we are, time with your children is precious. Did you ever think that your child is in school for about 7 hours a day? In our house, that means that they spend 7 hours with their teacher, and about 4 or 5 with us. Stark realization-or at least it was for me. That gives me more reasons to respect their teacher, and to support her decisions. I don't think she trumps us as parents, but by this time in the year, she has gotten to know them pretty well.
- Don't be afraid to communicate. When I was teaching, I detested it when parents would wait until Parent/Teacher Conferences in November to bring up an issue or a grade they disagreed with back in September. It's not fair to blindside the teacher. I also don't think that "No news is good news". Every two weeks or so, I send a simple email to the boys' teacher just to check up with how they are doing. Just like she wouldn't want to be blindsided by a conflict or issue at conferences, neither do I.
- Be polite. That seems so easy, doesn't it? Being polite covers a lot of areas. When you sign up for parent teacher conferences, make sure you're on time. If you can't make it, reschedule as soon as you can. Also, be diligent about signing your child's planner or other papers that are sent home. As soon as the boys get home from school, I go through their papers and weed out what needs to be sent back and I sign off on their planner for the day. Also, I try to not talk to their teacher right before school starts because she already has a million other things on her mind.
- Remember that the teacher is a person, too. Your child's teacher has a life outside of school. Isn't it funny how our children are surprised that their teachers actually ventures outside the walls of school to pick up a gallon of milk? Your child's teacher also has his or her own problems to handle with their family, marriage, and other relationships. I try to keep this in mind when talking to their teacher. That helps me to choose my words carefully.
I hope that these ideas will help you either build a better relationship with your child's teacher or make your relationship with him or her even better.