Back to school is here! No surprise there. I’m sure like every other mom in the world you are feeling one of two ways:
- “They are going back to school!” Momma needs a coffee mimosa and 5 minutes of quiet time. Get on the bus with your cute, new, took-30-minutes-to-put-on-shoes, Sister.
- “Aw no! Please don’t let them go back, I need my babies close at home!” I can’t relate to this, but I hear it’s a thing.
No matter how you’re feeling – it’s happening. I’m a mom who is ready. Not only because I need a minute of quiet, but because I’m lucky enough to have kids that thrive in an academic setting and they like it. Sure, they’d rather be at home running in the sprinkler or diving into the pool or watching Descendants 2 on repeat, but they really do enjoy school. I am thankful. If your kids don’t love school, don’t worry. They will still learn and grow and thrive. They feed on your positive attitude about academics – so if YOU didn’t love school – tell them it was still worth it. Fake it ‘til you make it.
Here are 5 things your child’s teacher wants you to know about back to school:
- Teachers are excited! I promise your kids’ teacher has been prepping for this day since school ended last year. They may have been dipping in the pool with a cocktail, or vacationing, or any other wonderful thing they enjoy in the summer, but I assure you educating students never leaves the mind of a teacher. It’s how they are wired. Perhaps they thought about how to arrange the classroom so kids could read more comfortably, or where to put the math manipulatives so they can be easily accessed to demonstrate fractions or multiplication. Maybe they even spent their summer repainting the classroom or buying a new bookshelf for storage. They aren’t complaining about it. They are probably enjoying it a little bit. It’s the nature of the job and they chose it for a reason – to help students learn and grow.
- We are in this together. This is super important to know because sometimes it doesn’t feel like the truth. When you child comes home with another project, or another math worksheet it can certainly feel like you vs. the teacher. I promise that isn’t the case. Good teachers assign homework and projects because they want your child to learn the act of independence. Using a skill on their own helps a student show mastery of a task. It’s a long and necessary road. Encourage conversation about school. Try not to ask questions that can be answered in one or two words. For example, “How was school today?” You’ll probably get a quick “OK,” answer. Probably not what you were looking for. Try, “What was the best thing about your day?”, “What did you read today?”, “What was hard about today?”
- Don’t do your kids’ homework. This one really can’t be repeated enough. Do not do your kids’ homework or projects for them. They won’t learn anything and you’ll be frustrated too. No one wins this way. It is super tempting! I know, I’m a mom and a teacher and I sometimes want to do the project myself because I’m better at it it’s easier than waiting 3000 years for my child to glue the pieces on the poster. Don’t. Just don’t. DO remember to check their backpack and homework list nightly.
- Please send supplies. Teachers are not kidding one single bit when they say they did not choose this profession for the money. CNN Money reported that teachers spend up to $1000 of their own money on classroom supplies over the course of a school year. Go ahead and look up the average teacher salary in your district, you’ll see that $1000 is a good chunk of that. So, please, don’t get frustrated when your teacher emails home that they are out of tissues or pencils. Just send some in, if you can. For bonus points on your kids’ report card – feel free to email said teacher and ask what she needs. (I’m mostly kidding.)
- Communication is key. Teachers love to communicate with other adults. Really. We spend more than half our day communicating with children so the occasional opportunity to speak with someone our own age is welcomed. Talk to your child’s teacher regularly. Use the method of communication he or she suggests – maybe it is email, or an app like Remind101, or old school like the phone. Who cares. Teachers do not care how you communicate to them, just want to leave that door wide open. The more you talk to each other the stronger your child’s education team is.
Teachers are people too. They want the best for their students (your kiddos) and will thank you for that Starbucks gift card or bottle of wine at Christmas with the sincerest of joy.