As many of you know, my oldest daughter started kindergarten this year! I can’t believe that I have a child old enough to be in school when it feels like just yesterday that she was a baby, we were first starting our tutoring business, and I began writing a blog! So, I decided to ask teachers and experienced parents (i.e., grandparents), “What advice would you give to parents at the start of a new school year?” Here is what they had to say:
Set the Tone
As Ellen, one of our more experienced parents, put it, “parents must communicate excitement and model a love of learning for [their] child.”
As the popular adage goes, “A great education starts at home.” As a parent, your attitude towards school and the way you speak about teachers, principals and school in general has an enormous impact on your child. Excitement is contagious, but so is anxiety. Make sure that your attitude about school reflects the attitude that you are hoping to see in your child.
Susan, an elementary teacher said, “Please understand that teachers are people too. We aren’t perfect, but we strive to be.” Steven, a high school teacher added, “Work with the teachers, not against them. We are all on the same side of trying to help the students.”
An attitude of teamwork and collaboration makes any endeavor more successful! Teachers want your child to be successful, just like you want your child to be successful. How can you work together to accomplish this?
Megan, a pre-K teacher suggests that you, “Share any concerns that you may have.” Emily, a high school teacher adds, “Don’t wait until the end of the year to contact/meet a teacher. Even high school teachers like parent involvement.”
Almost every parent and teacher mentioned communication as one of the most important factors. Parents need to communicate with teachers. Teachers need to be able to contact and communicate with parents. Some mentioned the need to set aside time to really listen to your child because their perspective is also very important!
Jamie, an elementary teacher advises that, “Your child can do more than you think they can. If you do everything for them at home, they will struggle with being independent and responsible at school.” Alison, a middle school teacher adds, “Let them make some mistakes so they can learn from them. If they forget something, let them take the consequences. We learn from our mistakes. We don’t learn when someone is constantly bailing us out.”
As a parent it can be heart-wrenching to see your child struggle. However, both struggle and failure are necessary to teach resilience. They allow a child to grow and also to understand and appreciate success and achievement when these are eventually earned. Kids need to know they are capable of producing the outcomes they want.
You Can Do It!
Tanya, a middle school teacher says, “Realize that the beginning of the school year can be hectic, emotional, and exhausting, but things will smooth out once routines are established.” Jen, a high school teacher adds, “Breathe!!!”
Inhale. Exhale. These first few weeks are a lot of work and an adjustment for everyone, but it’s going to be a great year!
-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.