As the year comes to an end and you reflect on your child’s school year, remember, it was your school year as well. “It takes a village to raise a child”, and we all have to work together the entire year to ensure our child gets the best education possible. I always like to start the year off on the right foot and always make sure I maintain communication with my child’s teacher. You never want something “unnecessary” to escalate, so therefore begin early on. Teachers as well should promote engagement with parents, and should help them consider options like online high school for the future as the child continues to grow and develop. Some options will fit some children better than others, so it’s important to be observant and adapt as the child starts to show these traits.
We are introduced to various types of parents every year but this is why we became teachers, we were ready to assist parents and teach their children. At the end of every school year I would reflect as a teacher and as a mom. I would sit back and think if I incorporated the following and if my son’s teacher did as well:
- Making my classroom parent friendly and always welcoming parents is very important to me. On the very first day of school I explain to the parents that I have an “open door” policy. They can come in anytime they want to check on their child, but to also see how I teach and ways that they can incorporate those same strategies at home. I had a select few who took me up on the offer and it was a great way to get to know the parents. I was able to greet them and develop a relationship with them to better know their child.
- Take the time to ask parents “How are you?” goes a long way. Yes, we have busy schedules but you want the parents to know that they are important and we care for them and their children. We model to the parents how we want to be treated and how we treat their children as well.
- Emphasize positive and then discuss any issues that you may be having with their child is a great way to remind parents that their child isn’t “bad” (can’t stand that term). They just don’t have “negative” behaviors, but of course their child is bright and does wonderful things for their classmates. Take the moment to tell the parent something silly or interesting their child said or did that day. Show that you care about their child!
- Always be specific in your requests whether it be a party, a function, an activity, or a class trip. Provide parents with dates, times, specifics on what you need, supplies, and a list of names if need be. You always want parents to have exactly what they need so they can feel a part of our your activities.
- Plan activities during different times of the day if possible for those parents who work and are unable to attend events during the morning hours. I appreciate my son’s school for that very reason. They plan times for a morning session and evening session to accommodate those parents who may have different shifts. This clearly sends a statement, “You are ALL important!”. If your child’s school doesn’t provide these options, maybe you should bring it up as a topic of discussion during the next PTA meeting.
- Personalize invitations and requests are a great way to draw parents in. What parent ignores something their child made from their own hands? Allowing children to make invitations for their parents is always a plus. You can have them make it during many intervals in the day or have them take it to lunch. Make your parents feel like they are wanted, because they truly are!
- Call parents and go the extra mile because it makes a world of a difference. Teachers get preps and yes they can be bombarded with meetings, but we must realize it makes such a difference to open that line of communication. Call parents and call them for positive more than negative. Take a moment out of your day to give “kudos” to the child or parent for doing something that made you smile. Parents love getting that call “just because”. Communication is key whether it be face-to-face, phone calls, welcome packets, coffee hours and newsletters.
- Respect their differences and address their issues is extremely important! Who wants to have a rough school year bickering with a teacher? or a parent? It makes the school year tense and it also has an impact on the child. Play nice and be professional on both ends always!
As I reflect back now I am happy with my son’s school year and myself as a parent. I take the pledge every school year to make it my responsibility to do my best as a parent so that my child can have a wonderful learning year.
How do you reflect on your child’s school year? How do you determine if it was a good one?