Back in the day a long, long time ago teachers got a simple gift of gratitude at Christmas time, and that was pretty much it. Even then, a lot of families didn’t even do that. I will admit, we always gave the teachers the best present EVER; it was hand dipped chocolates that my mom made given in a lovely candy dish. My mom always dipped chocolates in the fall getting ready for Christmas and I loved that tradition. I’m not talking dipping pretzels I’m talking CHOCOLATES like you see at See’s Candy! Anyway, now it seems that parents are trying too hard to ensure that their children are the teacher’s pet or at least special. Communication is imperative with teachers. I remember telling my mom to tell one of my teachers that I needed more help in math turned into a fiasco but that was the teacher’s fault. He was a tad bit insecure, and the next day he made me embarrassed in front of the entire class by bringing up what my mom said to him during Parent Teacher Conference. So how do we find a balance between not being too much of a pest, or a “brown-noser”, and knowing what is going on with our kids and their education. Here are a few suggestions/hints; I’m no expert so take the advice or forget it they’re just ideas.
Now that school is well on its way I hope that you’ve introduced yourself to the teacher, patiently waited a couple of weeks BEFORE asking questions as to teacher styles of teaching, if your child’s needs are being met, and attended open houses to get better acquainted with teachers and the school. If after this time you still have questions as to how things are going please feel free to send an email. Don’t use pick-up time or drop-off times for mini parent teacher conferences. Remember that there is never anything wrong in genuinely asking if there is anything you can do to help.
Please don’t forget to email good things to teachers. They get so many emails about what they can do better, things they’re falling short on, both from parents and administrative staff including principals. A quick email saying thank you for organizing a special event, occasion or even a sharing time that your child has mentioned and keeps talking about are terrific things to make a point to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. A positive relationship between parents and teachers significantly contributes to a child’s success in school.
One of the nicest things you can do is buy extra supplies that you can give to teachers. So many of today’s teachers spend their own money on extra supplies either for students in need in their classroom or for their classroom. So if you need to get pencils, erasers, markers, etc. for your own children simply pick up an extra packet or 2 to give to your teachers. When you give them to the teacher just say these are some extra supplies for the class or for some students you may feel need them. In some of even the best school districts teachers still use a lot of their own money to stock their classrooms.
One of the biggest things is to fill out and return paperwork in a timely manner. Teachers have 25+ kids in their classroom and they have to chase paperwork. Most times they can’t turn in paperwork until they have the entire classrooms at once. So sad that you may be holding up a field trip. Try to reduce teacher stress and yours by returning those darn forms asap.
Be involved. Your kids aren’t going to think school is important if you don’t think it is. What does that mean? Go to the extra curricular activities for parents and students including ice cream socials, plays, concerts etc. Participate in Parent Teacher Associations and volunteer when you can. Not only are your children in school so are you.
You may think oh come ON! I work full time! I get it. Trust me I do. Between meal planning, homework, after school activities, etc when on earth do you find the time? I don’t know but you just need to. You may not be able to do it all but make at least one or two activities a priority at the beginning of the year and stick to those.