Starting Your School Year Off Right – Tips from a Teacher

Most families want to start their school year off on the right foot. It can set the tone for the whole school year. As a teacher, there are a few key things I appreciate parents doing at the beginning of the school year to help make things go well and prepare your child for success.

Be proactive in communication. By reaching out to the teacher via an official channel (school’s messaging system, email, note in school mailbox, etc) you’ll be verifying that you know how to get in contact with the teacher should issues come up. It also gives you a good chance to touch base with any concerns you need to address, such as special learning or health needs.

Be forgiving. Remember that teachers are only human, and are doing the best they can. It’s particularly challenging for teachers at the beginning of the year to set routines. So if you do have an issue that needs to be addressed, give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and be ready to acknowledge that there may be more factors involved than you initially see.

Be present. Teachers love classroom volunteers, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to visit the class to help. Sometimes teachers have things that parents can take home and do (like sorting or cutting parts for projects), wishlist items parents can buy, or after-school or evening activities that parents can attend and help staff. Even more importantly, though, be present for your kids, creating a positive learning environment of support.

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Be positive. My biggest pet peeve as a math teacher is hearing parents make negative comments about math in front of their children. It’s ok to admit struggles, but try to frame it in a positive light. Kids may have different strengths and interests than parents, but by dismissing one subject or another, parents inadvertently diminish a child’s chances of success in that particular area by giving implicit messages that it’s not worth as much as other things.

Here’s to a great school year!

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