As a parent, how can you support your child’s teacher? Both teachers and parents are interested in seeing children do their best, feel safe in school and outside of school, and excel in all things. Teachers, especially now, are often overwhelmed. With large class sizes, pressures from the Common Core Standards, and ever shifting expectations, teachers navigate many outside pressures while trying to reach every single child in their classroom. How can you be the supportive parent every teacher hopes for?
- Read everything that comes home. Teacher’s aren’t sending stuff home to bother you. They need to keep the lines of communication open. If they sent it home, they think it is important. Read it and, if necessary, respond.
- Give feedback, preferably positive. If your child brings home a product that you think is awesome, send in a note and thank the teacher. “Dear Teacher, I loved the map on westward expansion. What a lot of work for you! My child said he loved the activity and I can see he learned a lot. Thank you, From the Parent.”
- Go to the conferences. Write down your questions so you are prepared. Compliment the teacher. Listen.
- If the teacher is awesome, tell the principal. Better yet, write a letter to the principal and say exactly why this teacher is awesome.
- Support the discipline process at school. Make sure you know what the discipline program is and discuss it with your child at the beginning of the year. Then, back up the teacher and the school if there are any problems.
- If your child’s teacher is in their first year, support them as much as you can. Being a first year teacher is exhausting and terrifying. Ask how you can help. Applaud their successes. Be nice. A supportive parent can make a huge difference for a first year teacher..
- Educate yourself about education. What are the Common Core Standards? How does your school write curriculum? What should your child be learning? Ask the teacher for resources to help understand what your child is learning and how you can help at home.
- Support learning at home.Ask your child what they are learning, discuss the learning process, and see if you can extend that learning by finding books or activities to do at home.
- Make your child do the homework. Find a quiet space, carve out a regular time, and just do it. Different people have different ideas about homework, and you are entitled to your opinion. But, the teacher is probably following school policy and you should support their homework policy. If you have concerns about homework, email the teacher or ask for a meeting. But, don’t just ignore it.
- Verbally support the school and the teacher at home. Don’t say negative things about teachers in general or in particular. Admire the work they do. Express gratitude for their support. Discuss the sacrifices they make. Let your child know that you respect and admire teachers and they should as well.
You want your child to succeed as does your child’s teacher. Help make that process easier by supporting the teacher’s efforts, curriculum, and classroom policies. If you have a concern, talk to the teacher. Listen with an open mind. If your child has an incredible teacher, as so many do, celebrate it. Teachers don’t get paid a lot. As parents, we can pay them in our thanks, our recognition of their skills and work ethic, and our support. Give thanks loudly. Recognize frequently. Support always.