After Labor Day, all schools across the nation are back in sessions. All of us, the teachers, the parents, the children; and even the homeschooled friends were looking forward to getting back into the routines that the school year brings.
Certainly, the children were not only excited to get their new school supplies and meet their new schools and new teachers and friends; but also, they are more excited about seeing their old buddies they haven’t seen throughout the summer.
I am lucky to be both a teacher and a parent because I get to experience both ways and that has helped me to navigate both worlds with more clarity, understanding, and with sets of skills and perspectives which I am glad to share each time I get an opportunity to write.
For me, I was happy to get back to working again as a full-time teacher vis-a-vis a substitute teacher; and was more excited to get to meet the new students in a new classroom after the summer challenges that makes us all wonder if our children are getting too many stimulations/entertainments, too boring, and or summer slide-how much they will lose what they learned during school year by slipping out of learning practice during summer break!
So, now that schools are in full sessions, here are what teachers really want from parents:
Setup and Maintain Structured Environment at Home
I am a proponent of creating and maintaining a structured environment at home and following the routines. Not only can a structured home environment support and encourage learning at home, but also setting up routines and following them through minimize chaos and unwanted behavior and makes your day run smoother; it also, help build healthy and good habits.
The problem many parents face when making your children responsible and get what you want from them without both breaking down emotionally is that many homes lack structure and routines. If parents set up a plan on how things will be done and when from early on, that helps to establish a structure. After establishing a structure, maintain consistency which is the foundation of routine. Once a routine has become familiar, the routine becomes the “boss”. Remember, being firm and consistent with the routines means being in control. Make yourself understood by your children, and children should know what you expect from them.
In many cases, young children like and love predictability and consistency, and routines help them learn expectations and feel comfortable in performing their responsibilities. Wise parents get this and they setup routines in their homes. Clear expectations and predictable activities can smooth the frictions between child and parent.
“If you command wisely, you will be obeyed cheerfully”. ~ Thomas Fuller.
There are so many things parents can adapt to create routines at home, such as children should know what to expect when they arrive from school, on days they are out of school; the truth is, children should know what we expect from them from when they get up every morning, to when they go to bed at night! Make a daily schedule of events and hang it where is easily visible (on the kitchen refrigerator): they should know snack time, homework time, game time; when to take a bath, dinner time, when to take the trash out; and when the dog needs to be fed, bathed, or be taken for a walk. Assigning tasks to help children be responsible and learn self-discipline-it my duty to do 1,2,3, etc. hence it minimizes power struggle or unwanted behavior.
“Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming” ~ Haim Ginott.
Don’t be that parent who will do everything for your child-young or big kids! Your preschooler, for example, can learn how to clean after himself/herself from the eating table to the play area; and keep the toys neatly where they belong after playtime. For the bigger kids — -making their beds, wash dishes, do laundry, vacuum the house, etc. Set the routines and standards of cleanliness/neatness at home so that they can keep it at school too!
Get a Copy of Parent Handbook
Parent handbook is your most useful resource information about your child’s school. Take few minutes to read it to familiarize yourself with the school system, procedures, and practices. You will be amazed how informative that handbook is-there you will find useful information that explains how your child’s school operates regarding children learning, growing, developing, and parent’s tips on how to support your child and get involved to ensure that your child is really learning and thriving in school socially, emotionally, academically, as well as physically.
Parent handbook also covers many concerns and questions parents might encounter for the whole school year. When you read it often it will guide you towards helping your child succeed in the school environment.
Help to protect your child’s right to learn and the teacher’s freedom to teach.
Communication with Teachers
It is imperative that parents establish communication with their child’s teachers.
Good communication is the lubricating oil that makes all parts of operation run smoothly and effectively.
The ability to good communication is vital to the success of any endeavor, and in schools, it’s no difference-teachers really want parents to have open, and effective communication with them. The way you build good communication between you and your child which in turn make your child feel safe and cared for is the same way teachers want parents to build good and effective communication with them in order to support their children’s learning effectively. In fact, good teachers make themselves available and accessible to parents, and the technology has made it easier than ever to quickly communicate either by phone-calls or texts or by e-mail. Parent-teacher being on the same page regarding their children’s daily life in school is not only a good thing, it is inevitable. Teachers want to encourage parents to communicate often and inform teachers about any changes in family setup, just as teachers are anxious to share concerns about your child’s learning and progress-socially, emotionally, academically and developmentally. Always feel free to talk to your child’s teacher about anything that concerns you and your child’s learning.
It is very important that the parents inform the teacher any special circumstances in a child’s life (divorce, new sibling, death in the family, etc.) so that your child can be given the special attention he/she needs at that period. In addition, it is also very important to notify your child’s teacher of any changes such as new home address, new telephone number, new work number, change of working hours, etc. Providing your child with the care and support he/she needs is the role of both parents and teachers.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2005), “What inspires a child to grow up caring about others is the caring that the child receives”.
Be an Advocate for Your Child
Parents are the first and most effective advocates of their children’s welfare, whether it’s for healthcare, education, clean water, clean environment, etc. Truly I tell you, teachers want parents to be proactive when it comes to your child’s learning, and more so especially when you volunteer your time to visit your child’s school, classroom, and get to meet and know your child’s teachers. Keep asking teachers, questions if you have any questions, concerns, or comments about your child’s learning-find out if your child is getting a great education that will prepare him/her for the next grade level; for success and thrive in school and beyond; is your child engaged and learning every day? And if you happen to hold a community job-a veterinarian, a doctor/dentist, a policeman, Fireman, Baker, Construction Worker, and or a Policy Maker, etc. bring your expertise to your child’s classroom. Your child, teachers, and school will love it and appreciate your time to share.
As they say, never let it rest until the Good is Better, and the Better is Best.
Moreover, teachers are always looking for classroom materials. What most teachers want from parents more than Starbucks coffee gift cards and mugs are the materials and supplies for their classrooms, believe me! While teachers appreciate all you do for them, I can’t tell you how much teachers like you and appreciate you most as when you give materials and supplies to their classrooms, which means you enable better teaching and learning, so both teachers and students benefit.
Remember, advocacy is to change “what is” into “what should be”.
Discipline Your Child
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners; contempt for authority; show disrespect for elders…children are tyrants, not the servants of their households…they contradict their parents…and tyrannize teachers”. ~Socrates, c.390 B.C.
You see! From the time immemorial, long before the ever-changing technology and the fast-paced society come to be, children are our biggest challenge as well as our biggest and most precious asset. Teachers want parents to discipline your children because it’s the first lesson parents can afford your children, and learning starts from home!
Those who can discipline themselves can discipline others!
Discipline is about guiding and correcting children in a way that supports their development of self-control. Every parent and or adult who cares for young children has a responsibility to parent and discipline your child. Teachers want parents to know that discipline is a positive step to remedy a negative tendency, a step to solve inappropriate and unwanted behaviors from a child, especially exhibiting aggressive behavior against other children (bullying) and or teachers. Guide, correct, direct and redirect, and teach your child appropriate and good behaviors.
Although we must discipline wrong behavior, praising good behavior is a strong prevention! So, remember, teachers want parents to discipline your children, but they also really want parents to remind children about the school rules-to follow those simple, clear, classrooms rules and school policies/laws because many potential problems can be averted.
Teachers Four Simple Golden Rules:
We treat each other kindly and with respect.
We take good care of our classroom.
We want you to be present and on time.
We love one another.
Thank you for reading! Add comments, Like it, and Share it too! And be sure to read the next article, What Parents Really Wants from Teachers…I will be switching the tables!!!