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Mommy Blogger Robyn L. – Back to School Tips From a Teacher

I saw a commercial where a mom sat in a silent house and said “This is what September sounds like.” Yep. It’s that time. Teachers and students are getting ready to go back to school. And while September doesn’t sound anything like a quiet house to me, I am getting excited to start another school year. With the beginning of a new year in mind, I wanted to share some thoughts from a teacher to a parent.

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School supply lists: I have always taught high school, so I’ve never come up with an extensive school supply list. I’m excited if my students come with a pen. But I have three kids. I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve stood in an aisle for a couple of hours looking for scissors that are the exact length the teacher requires. Before you wonder if your child’s teacher is crazy, know that the list is not intended to drive you bonkers.  These teachers must plan what supplies your child needs for the entire year. I can’t even imagine the type of organization that requires. And if supplies run low, that teacher may end up replenishing the stock out of his or her own pocket. School supplies are expensive for all involved, but they so important. If you are the type of person who gets flustered, try shopping by yourself instead of bringing the kids along. Or you can do your school supply shopping online. There are even some parent groups at schools that will sell pre-package supplies. I call these people angels. Such a wonderful idea!

Parent/teacher communication: Confession time: It’s challenging as a teacher to talk to parents sometimes. I know that it’s difficult to entrust your child to someone you hardly know for the entire day, but most teachers have your child’s best interests at heart. By the end of the first semester, I consider my students to be my “kids”. When a parent emails me or calls me and is accusatory or belligerent, it’s difficult to work with him or her. If we both want wants best for your kid, then we should work toward that end. Parents and teachers have to be a team when it comes to educating your child. Be a team player and hopefully your child’s teacher will return the favor. Another suggestion is to have an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. Don’t let the first time you talk be when there is a problem. Teachers should try to communicate more with parents, but sometimes it’s hard. Just a quick email will do wonders.

Dress code: I say this as an educator and a parent, please know the school dress code and make sure your child follows it. Those rules aren’t made up for fun. We see how kids look at each other. We know when clothing is a distraction. Your child will likely be required to follow a dress code in his or her professional life. Why not start them off now? Having to stop students in the hall or during class for violating the dress code takes up valuable time. Please help your children follow the guidelines.

Talk to your kids: Ask your student about their day and really listen to the response. Make sure your child doesn’t have any forgotten homework or upcoming projects. A conversation with your student can help you in a number of ways. If you talk to your kid, you can find out about grades, teachers, friends. You may even be able to stop bullying if there is any going on. Having a conversation with your kid can be one of the most important things you do all day.

I hope we all have a great school year. Please remember above all else that your child’s education is a team effort — it takes school and home involvement to make a kid successful.

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