School is hard. Gone are the days where you drop your child off at Kindergarten for a day of playing, naptime and snacks. Instead, your five-year-old is learning how to identify the main idea from a text and support it with details. Sounds pretty intense don’t you think? The reality is, whether we think it’s intense or not, classroom instruction is becoming more rigorous by the minute. We teach rigorous standards, ask rigorous questions in the classroom, and expect students to rise to these challenges on a daily basis. The obvious question then becomes: Can our children actually perform at the high levels that are expected of them?
The short answer to that question is yes. The longer version of that answer includes the infamous word no one wants to hear after the word yes, “but”. With 10 plus years in the public school system, my personal opinion is that students can reach these new rigorous standards BUT the key to success is a strong home/school relationship. When these two forces come together in the joined interest of a child, student growth skyrockets. I’ve seen it happen first hand as a teacher in the classroom and as a parent with my own son.
I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to have the perspective of both an educator and a mom. This vantage point has helped me guide my own child to succeed in school and build a good rapport with his teachers along the way. Again, I’m lucky because I know the importance of building this relationship and I also know how to create it. My experience is that most parents want to build this relationship and want success for their child but they just don’t know how to do it. Or even where to start.
As a mom, and a teacher, I’d like to share with you some insight on what it takes to create a positive educational pathway for your child. These tips on organizing your student for success work for all children, at all learning levels. Despite popular belief, all children need guidance and structure including the “smart” kids. My goal throughout this series is to share my knowledge with you in hopes that you understand the importance you play in your child’s success in school and ultimately in life.
5 Ways To Organize Your Student For Success
- Get to know your child’s teacher/teachers
How can you build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher/teachers if you have no clue who they are? I’m not implying that you become best friends with them but what I am saying is that you make an effort to introduce yourself to them and learn a few things about them. Try thinking of it this way, your child is going to be spending an entire school year with this person. Don’t you want to feel comfortable knowing who you are leaving your child with every day?
The easiest way you can start to build a relationship with your child’s teacher/teachers is to attend Open House or Meet the Teacher Day. During this time teachers usually have a presentation put together where they will give you some general information about themselves such as where they went to college, if they’re married or have kids, and maybe even some fun facts or hobbies they enjoy.
I feel like this is common sense for parents of younger children. Everyone always rushes to meet the Kindergarten and 1st-grade teacher but by the time middle school hits, fewer and fewer parents attend. Just because your child is growing up and becoming more independent doesn’t mean that they don’t need you to be an active participant in their education. Yes, you can give them more freedom as they grow older but you still want to be involved and “in the know”. Zach started 9th grade this year and you bet that I was at Open House. While some classes had a good turnout in attendance, I sat in some classes where I was maybe one of three parents. I’m so happy I went. I got to see and hear each of Zach’s teachers talk and get a feel for them and their teaching style. I walked away that evening feeling content knowing that Zach had a team of teachers who all wanted him to succeed and were willing to help him in any way they could.
If you can’t attend these events I suggest you send an email to the teacher introducing yourself. Ask them if they had a handout or copy of their presentation from the evening so you can familiarize yourself with it. As a teacher, I would be highly impressed! This screams, “I’m a parent who is here to support you and I look forward to working with you to help my student become successful this year!”
Getting to know your child’s teacher/teachers is the first step in helping to organize your student for success. As an added bonus, students tend to act better in class and try harder knowing that the teacher has a good relationship with their parents. The kids know you can call or email to report their behavior at any moment. All the teacher has to say is, “Do you think your mom would approve of what you’re doing? Should we call her?”. This little pep talk seems to put the student right back on track 🙂
Hopefully, I have given you a starting point at which to begin fostering a relationship with your child’s teacher/teachers. I promise that the effort you put into this will show in your child’s success in school.
Learning classroom procedures and policies will help you understand how the classroom functions. This will inevitably be another way to help your child be successful in the classroom.