“5 Simple Back to School Tips from Your Child’s Teacher: What They Want You to Know”
Sharpen those pencils and dust off those backpacks! It’s back to school season and this can be a very exciting and important time in both your and your child’s life. It’s the start of a new year — which can be quite significant when setting the tone and precedence for expectations throughout the school year. Here are a few tips from a teacher to help you ensure that your child gets off on the right foot and has a smooth year!
1. Log In and Sign Up: Many teachers utilize online class sites and/or apps that open lines of communication between parents and teachers. If the teacher sends home or gives out information at the beginning of the school year with instructions on how to set it up and keep in touch, take a minute or so of your time to do so. Not only does this come in handy when you need to contact the teacher with a quick question, but you also have an eye on what’s going on in your child’s life while at school, especially their grades. Most school systems have a type of parent portal where you can log in and see a live gradebook with your child’s grades and current class average. It’s there for YOU and easy to use! Do this at the beginning of the year to stay on top of your child’s academic progress.
2. Sign Those Forms: Let’s face it. You get bombarded with paperwork during the first week of school. Trust me, we know! We have to collect them and file them all! But it’s necessary for you to sign those. They usually include internet forms, video watching forms, contracts, etc. that must be signed before the class can move on. For example, if there’s a lesson that requires internet usage and your child’s internet form isn’t signed, then that poses a problem. It’s also a lot easier on the teacher to receive all of these signed forms at one time (wink wink). Just be sure to read them, sign them, and send them (preferably in a folder) back the next day.
3. Check for Papers to Sign Nightly: If it’s not already part of your routine, I highly recommend adding it. Kids forget. And even if you ask them, they may still forget. I know there’s a lot of work on autonomy in the middle and high school years, but if your child has a special folder or section in a binder for important papers to be signed, this can become part of their routine to take it out and double check — nightly. They’d hate to miss out on a field trip or extra points or privileges for not getting something signed by you. Help them out with guidance and reminders.
4. Homework Time: How many times have you asked your child if they have homework and the answer is always “No,” only to find out later that they haven’t been doing their homework or their grade has slipped? Carve out a time every night just for homework. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a time where things that were specifically assigned as “homework” has to be done. For example, set aside one hour designated for homework. Use a timer. If nothing in particular was assigned or they finish the assignment before time is up, then they are to make flashcards or reread and review the lesson they did in class today, making a study guide or a practice test. No cell phones allowed!
5. Let’s Have a Relationship: It’s a new year! Let’s set goals for your child and assess them regularly, together! We are on the same team and nothing motivates a child more than having us in their corner and holding them accountable. Whether it’s behavior, academics, or personal goals, our job as teachers is to ensure that we push your child to reach their potential. Communicate with your child’s teacher, whether it be through email, parent nights, or simply following the class website or messages, assure your child that you are invested in their education. Check in on their grades via parent portals and send a message to the teacher if you feel the need. It’s about building relationships and together, we can make this the best year EVER!
Amanda Shackelford is a middle school English teacher. She is a product of Iberia Parish Public School System and now in her 10th year teaching in Lafayette Parish Public Schools.