I’m going to admit here and now that I have never had children, and I’m oblivious as to what it takes to make sure your child doesn’t get lost in the classroom shuffle, sports, etc. I DO remember telling my mom that I needed to have more help with math in fifth grade. When my mom mentioned it to the teacher during Parent Teacher Conference the teacher went crazy on me in the classroom the very next day. It was HORRIBLE! I was humiliated, and I do believe that my mom did the right thing in telling the teacher what I had told her, BUT the teacher, my belief is, was hurt and felt overly criticized. Of course he did handle the situation in the worst way you could.
These days (and maybe it’s always been this way) it seems that parents are trying to make their kids the “Teacher’s Pet”. If I was a teacher I would be very uncomfortable with all the gift giving that seems to be the norm these days from parents. I remember Christmas was the only time we would give our teachers anything. Of course my gift was the best because my mom would dip homemade chocolates and we’d give that in a lovely candy dish. I mean WOW even in today’s terms of gift giving I think this was a lovely gift.
How can you get on the teacher’s winning side without gifts or being one of those obnoxious parents and be engaged with the goings-on at school? Here’s a few tips I’ve read and I think they’re pretty good:
The school year has begun and hopefully you’ve already started on the right foot with being patient, you’ve met your child’s teacher, you’ve been kind at drop-off and pick-up and you HAVEN’T turned every time you see teachers into a parent/teacher conference. Now is a good time to see if there is anything the teacher may need help with. Yup, you read correctly, being a teacher is very difficult even in the best of circumstances so knowing there is a parent out there that wants to help is priceless. If you’re needing a little update as to how your child is doing it’s okay at this time to send a brief email.
Don’t forget to email good things to teachers. If Jane or Johnny comes home and mentions something that their teacher did they enjoyed you should let the teacher know in an email of thanks or congratulations. We all do better when we are appreciated for the good we do. See the good, foster the good, and let your educators know.
You know what else is a cool thing to do? Buy extra supplies; Tissues, wipes, hand-sanitizer, pencils, crayons, glue etc. and give it to your teacher. It doesn’t matter what school district you’re in teachers are consistently buying extra supplies for their classroom that they spend out of their own pocket. It doesn’t have to be a lot but if you buy a packet of pencils for your child buy 2; that way the teacher can either use it for the classroom or give it to a child that might need it!
How about this concept; fill out the paperwork as soon a you get it! Check your kids’ bags at least once a week and when you find a form fill it out, put it back in the bag and be done! Simple.
Be as active as you can with the school as a whole NOT just your child’s class. Every school needs parents to be active in school activities. I’ve seen some schools offer $20 drop-in childcare for a date night. This is a terrific deal, and you should take advantage of this. Why, because this is a win, win situation where the school raises much needed funds for the school, and you and your partner can enjoy a night out that will be less expensive than hiring a babysitter that charges an hourly rate.
Schools need you, their students need you, and you may unwittingly contribute to a student whose parent is struggling financially to give their own child the education they deserve, all children deserve. Share your time and create that village we all talk about when we talk about raising children. Be that village and not that annoyance that when a teacher sees you tries to cut into the teacher’s lounge.