One Simple Tip for Starting the School Year off Right

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Back to school is an exciting time for teachers, students and parents alike. Each year brings with it a chance for a fresh start. A new beginning, a clean slate. As parents we want the absolute best for our children. We want them to have the opportunity to learn and succeed in their classrooms while having fun and making friends at the same time.

So often in today’s world teachers get a lot of flack. Parents are quick to come to their child’s defense when issues arise rather than give the teacher the benefit of the doubt or trust that the teacher isn’t the “enemy” and is instead trying to do their best to help all their students succeed.

Most of the time teachers are meeting 20-30 new students at the start of each school year. Again, a clean slate. Sure, they may have heard whispers or rumors about some of the children, particularly if related to their academic performance or prior discipline record, but for the most part teachers don’t know their upcoming class.

Just as students and parents feel nervous and anxious at meeting their teacher, seeing their classroom, and making new friends…teachers are nervous too! They don’t know what the year ahead will hold and they are hoping for a positive start to the school year and for it to be a great year for everyone in their classroom.

My husband and I have great kids. They are well behaved, well mannered, and work hard to do their best at their studies. But they are far from perfect. Just as all humans are flawed, our children will make mistakes. We know that there will be times they will disappoint us and we believe strongly in putting trust into our children’s teachers. We trust them to care for our babies. We trust them to teach them. To guide them. And to let us know if there are any concerns that arise.

We know our kids may struggle at some point in their school careers. Maybe academically. Maybe socially. Maybe in discipline concerns. Whatever those moments may be, we want an open line of communication between us and the kids’ teachers. We want to make sure our children’s teachers know that we support them.

We have learned one simple tip for starting the school year off right and it not only works every year, but it leaves an impression that lasts beyond that year as well!

Ready for the secret???

Bring a business card.

Yes. It’s that simple. Whether you have an open house before school starts to meet the teacher or if you meet the teacher on the first day of school bring a business card with you.

If you don’t have a business card, write down your name, the name of your child and your contact information on a notecard and have it prepared to give them. Multiple kids? Make one for each child.

I also think it’s valuable to have both parents there when meeting the teacher. It shows a united front when it comes to school and education and shows the teacher that you both value their role in your child’s life.

My husband is the one who brings the business card with him to each teacher meet and greet. He gives the same talk to each teacher. And he makes sure our child is there to hear his speech. Here’s how it goes:

” (insert child’s name here) is a great kid and we’re very proud of him/her but if you have ANY issues at ALL during the school year I’d like to give you my personal contact information. Call me anytime. Not only will we support you in how you handle any issues or concerns within the classroom setting but there will also be repercussions at home if needed.”

Doesn’t he look serious? Ha!

 

In the event that my husband can’t be there to meet the teacher when we go as a family (sometimes work gets in the way!) then he makes a conscious effort to make sure he’s able to stop by the school within the first week of back to school to meet them and give the speech and card.

Giving your personal contact information to the teacher, especially in front of your child, makes a huge, long lasting impact. Not only does the teacher know that you respect her and support her, but your child knows that you and their teacher are on the “same team” and a united front. All the adults they are around on a regular basis (both parents as well as their teacher) are on the same page and they know what is expected of them before school even starts!

Not only does this effort show the teacher your support but it also let’s them know that you won’t only be supporting their decisions within the classroom but you’ll also be following up with consequences at home. It let’s them know you’re personally invested in your child and are there to do whatever is best for them and will take whatever their teacher may say to heart and apply it at home. If it’s an academic concern…you’ll put in that time to help them catch up. If it’s discipline…you’ll follow through with consequences at home that match up with the teacher’s classroom consequences.

We have a current fourth grader and first grader and have never had “the card” been used. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been effective. Our oldest child this year has the same teacher he had last school year. When we visited for Open House and my husband pulled out his business card to give to her she stopped him and said she still had the one from last year. It was still in her desk. A simple reminder to her each and every school day that a parent supports her, trusts her, and is there if she ever needs them.

She even mentioned that she looks at it and can visualize exactly where it is in her desk. How could that not make a positive impression to her about our child and his parents? She knows she can count on us and she’s continually reminded throughout the year of that support!

While this one tip makes a big impact on the teacher as well as your child, there are many other ways to help your child have a great school year. This post covers 8 ways to help prepare them before the first day!

We start this annual card and speech giving routine as soon as our kids start school, yes even in preschool. It helps to do this from the very beginning so everyone is always on the same page! If your kids are already beyond preschool, don’t hesitate in starting this now. It will leave a long lasting impression on your child, their teacher, and create a positive start for the school year ahead!

Is your child getting ready to start preschool? Here are several posts to help prepare for that big transition:

Sometimes preschool isn’t the best fit for a family, here’s 5 provoking reasons to boycott preschool. 

 

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