Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

August 24, 2010

Maintaining a Connection With Your Child’s Teacher

welcome

Image Courtesy of Teaching Resource Center

When I was in about third grade, I was surprised to discover that my teacher did not, in fact, live in the classroom – she actually had a house and family, and she went home every day.

A teacher is your partner in the education of your child. It’s also important to remember that your child’s teacher is a person first, and would appreciate a consistent connection with you throughout the school year!

Get Some Face Time

I have a friend who takes her kids to school each morning so that she can connect with her kids’ teachers. While I think this is great, I can barely drag myself from my bed to watch my kids at the bus stop, so this plan wouldn’t work for me.

This is fine, because I know teachers are busy people and there are other ways to get face time with your child’s teacher. Before the school year starts, take a field trip to the school with your kids and arrange to meet. This will help everyone involved feel more comfortable on the first day of school. Also, if dropping your kids off at school doesn’t work for you, what about popping in a couple of times a week to pick them up, checking in with the teacher while you’re there?

Although they don’t involve face to face interaction, here are more ways to connect with your child’s teacher on a regular basis:

  • Exchange email addresses – email is easier and faster than a phone call.
  • If you call, leave a detailed message.
  • Volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis.
  • Schedule an appointment if there’s an important issue you’d like to discuss.

Give the Best Information

Teaching is a highly demanding and stressful job, and teachers can use all the help they can get.

Sometimes the best help you can give a teacher is information. Be up front about behavioral or medical conditions, like asthma, allergies, ADHD, OCD, and Autism Spectrum disorder to name a few, along with any pertinent medications that your child must take while at school. Keep the teacher informed of family changes, like adoption, divorce or remarriage – this helps teachers watch out for any behavior changes.

Giving this information to your child’s teacher may feel uncomfortable, but it helps him/her give your child the attention he/she needs from the beginning of the school year. Teachers are also required to keep this information confidential.

Stay Involved

As a former elementary school teacher, I would give one piece of advice to parents – simply, do what you say you’re going to do. This doesn’t mean that you have to do a lot, or that you have to actually be inside the classroom to volunteer.

Here are a few ways to stay involved:

  • Complete volunteer tasks at home, like correcting spelling tests or cutting out shapes for a lesson.
  • Go to all-school or family-centered events, like Back to School night, conferences, Open House, harvest parties or carnivals.
  • Chaperone class fieldtrips.
  • Donate classroom supplies or prizes.

Show Appreciation

To teachers working on the front line, a thank you goes a long way, and there are several easy ways to show your appreciation!

  • Write a quick email once a week to share a joke, a funny story about your child, or to say thank you.
  • Give teachers and students a smile in the hallway.
  • Bring coffee – most teachers drink it and love free coffee drinks.
  • Acknowledge his/her birthday with a card from your family.
  • Observe Christmas and Teacher Appreciation Week with cards small gifts, or gift certificates to a restaurant or a book store. Have your child fill out the card.

Consistent connections with your child’s teachers will benefit them, you and your child!

Author Byline

Kelly Wilson

Kelly Wilson

Kelly Wilson is an editor with Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing teachers and classrooms with low-cost, high-quality Teacher Supplies.

August 9, 2010

7 Ways to Help Your Child’s Teacher

Guest Blog by Sarah Combs

back to school

Back to School Image Courtesy Pane, amore e creativita

Back-to-school is in full swing! School supply lists and school uniforms are everywhere you turn; it’s time for the lazy days of summer to come to an end and the routine of school days to begin.  Whether you’re a parent of a preschooler or a third grader, this means turning over your little ones to the capable hands of a teacher. But this doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax! Teachers are always in need of help, and now more than ever. In almost all districts, our teachers are being asked to do more and more with less and less – budgets are tight, class size is swelling and assistants have been cut from many programs. Parents can participate in the classroom by helping with parties, recess, fundraisers, or even just everyday activities; the options are endless. Being a part of your child’s education lets them know that you’re truly interested in their success at school, and provides you with a priceless experience. Help your child’s teacher help your child! Here are seven ways that parents can actively participate at school:

  1. Basket of classroom supplies. Find out what supplies might be missing in the classroom. Ask each family to donate one or two small items: pencils, markers, glue, stickers, tissue, hand sanitizer, table wipes, etc. Ask for gift card donations from office supply and craft stores to help with classroom supplies. Parents who can’t afford to donate can participate by cutting coupons for frequented retailers.
  2. Organize a reading circle and classroom helpers. Use VolunteerSpot to coordinate volunteers -‐ each parent signs up to help once a month in the classroom — reading, helping with science experiments, and tutoring kids needing extra help.
  3. Share your special skills and traditions. Compile a list of special skills, hobbies, or family traditions that parents can share with the class throughout the year. Help organize and execute parties and class projects that highlight different aspects of each child’s culture, and introduce them to new traditions.
  4. Wish Notebook. Put together a wish notebook with teacher surveys and share it with parents. The surveys should ask teachers to list ways in which parents can help them either inside or outside of the classroom. Parents can help in the areas they feel most comfortable.
  5. Paperwork Parents. Take turns making copies, grading papers, or preparing classroom supplies after hours. Use VolunteerSpot’s online scheduling tool to coordinate the effort. If parents can help once or twice a week, that’s a tremendous time savings and welcome break for your teacher.
  6. A personal note from students. Ask each child to write a letter or note  expressing what they are looking forward to this year and why they like their teacher. Then, throughout the first semester, present the notes, one at a time.
  7. Before and After. Take a photo of 4-5 children at a time at the start of the school year. Hold on to these and take pictures of the same groupings towards the end of the year. Prepare a before-and-after flip book to share with the teacher, along with notes and remembrances from the class.

Parent participation is crucial throughout the year, make sure that classroom volunteering isn’t only a back-to-school activity, get involved and stay involved in your child’s education. For more about Room Moms and Room Dads, check out VolunteerSpot’s free eBook, Room Mom’s Survival Guide. It gives tips for class parents, and provides fun class party ideas for the school year.

Author Byline

Room Mom

VolunteerSpot

Guest post by Sarah Combs of VolunteerSpot, DOING GOOD just got easier! VolunteerSpot makes back-to-school planning a snap for parents and teachers with simple online sign up sheets – quickly organize classroom volunteers, school fundraisers, tournaments, carnivals, parent-teacher conferences, soccer snacks, Scout campouts and more!  Register on VolunteerSpot before October 1,2010 with promo code ‘TeachersSave’ for a chance to win $100 in classroom supplies for your favorite teacher from ClassWish.

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