We just made the difficult decision to switch teachers for our sweet Emma in 2nd grade and we now have our work cut out trying to catch her up on the last two and half weeks of classwork since she will be going from French immersion to German. I have been thinking a lot about the load our educators carry and how we, as parents, can show them how much we appreciate the role they play in our child’s life. Here are a few ideas (beyond the once-a-year teacher’s gift) to start the year off right with your child’s care provider or teacher.
1.) Be on time. Nothing says you are ready to learn and you are serious about your child’s education than turning in homework assignments in a timely manner, filling out papers and returning them promptly, and showing up for class before the bell rings.
2.) Be the one who starts the conversation. Send an introductory email at the beginning of the year to say hello and then fill them in on your child’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and interests outside of school. This kind of communication establishes a collaborative relationship between parent and teacher and shows that you are an involved parent.
3.) Be the volunteer. You may not have time to be homeroom mom, but consider offering to sharpen pencils or drop off breakfast muffins for a teacher meeting. To avoid burnout, pick volunteer opportunities that fit within your gifts and abilities. Bonus: you get to know everyone at the school fast this way!
4.) Be a gift giver. There are the expected times of year where educators are inundated with cute notepads and coffee mug cozies, but it is often during the middle of the year when breaks are few and far between that a teacher needs encouragement the most. Keep it simple. Nothing says “We love you!” like a $5 Starbucks gift card on a random Tuesday.
5.) Be the first to concede. I know, I know, you strongly believe your child is the next Mozart or the next Picasso and that they come to school ready to study. But trust me, teachers see it all and a large part of their job is making sure students obey first so that they can then grasp concepts. Don’t be the parent that thinks your child can do no wrong. Ask at the beginning of the year for them to update you an any behavioral issues they see. Admit blind spots. Ask often for a report, and don’t bristle when you are greeted with honesty. Teachers have more patience with a child when they know their efforts are being reinforced at home.
6.) Be a prayer warrior. Can you imagine being entrusted with 20 children every day? Teachers need our prayer! Consider even asking them if there is anything you can pray for throughout the year. This will not only be a witness, but also show that you love and appreciate them beyond the classroom.
7.) Be grateful. Make it a habit from the get-go to sign your communication off with “Thank you for investing in our child!”
Any tips you’ve noticed make your year start off smoother with your teachers?