Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back To School: Stay Connected

As a former public high school teacher in California, I loved the new school year! I loved new school supplies, new lesson plans and material, and of course, my new students! With a class of 30+ kids, it can often feel like there isn't enough one-on-one time in an hour or hour and a half. Students and teachers may feel there is a disconnect. I suggest how and why to stay connected with your teacher(s) at any grade level.

  • Stop by and introduce yourself (and your child) at the beginning of the school year. Take time to talk to your teacher. Ask him/her questions. Let your child talk about him/herself.
  • Offer to help your teacher. It can be anything from grading papers, to assisting with a class project, to helping with field trips, etc. Students can offer to help as well (filing, cleaning, organizing, etc.).
  • Email or call your teacher and let him/her know if your child is struggling in his/her class or if there are other personal issues your teacher might want to know about (death in the family, health issues, struggles with other classes, lack of sleep, etc.). This takes a lot of the guess work out for the teacher as to why your child might be performing or behaving differently in class. Your teacher will be more aware of the situation and able to help your child better in and out of the classroom.
  • Be kind to your teacher. Please realize that teachers are some of the most busy people and they are expected to care for 30-120+ students (depending on grade level) daily. Their work day doesn't end when the bell rings. It often ends late at night, sometimes at home, after grading and lesson planning has been completed for the next day. If you notice your child's grades are slipping, please talk to your teacher ASAP. Teachers don't have a lot of time to call everyone's parents or talk to each student about their progress. Be willing to help your student at home. The teacher can't tutor your child all the time. 
  • Your teacher is a great resource for letters of recommendation. Your teacher can more accurately write a sincere letter if he/she knows you, your interests, your abilities, etc. 
  • Your teacher is more willing to help you if he/she knows what's going on in your life.
  • If your student is lucky, he/she could get the same teacher the following year! 
Now, a word from a family counselor about TALL children.

I have two girls that are both in the 90th percentile for height for their age. Because they are tall, people tend to think they are older. The downside is that because people think they are older, they expect the children should know more and should behave older. This can get them into a lot of trouble if people don't know their real age. Imagine a kindergartner being expected to behave like a second grader, or in other words, a 5 year-old expected to behave like a 7 year-old. Teachers supervising the on playground or at lunchtime who don't know your child may think this way. A good thing to do at the beginning of the school year is to introduce your child to other teachers and let them know that little Johnny is only 5 (or whatever age your TALL child may be). 

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