The first day of school. It’s filled with hugs, butterflies in bellies, tears, and laughter- and that’s just from us, the parents.
Letting our little ones go through those doors on the first day can be nerve wracking. “Will the teachers love my baby like I want them to? How do I know that the teacher will see the best in my child?”
It can be hard to leave our kids in the arms of a stranger on the first day of school, but there are ways to help set that relationship on the right path from day one.
How To Team Up with Your Child’s Teacher
Setting the Tone
Believe it or not, teachers have all kinds of anxieties on the first day of school, too. They spend hours of their summer setting up, writing and reviewing curriculum, looking through student files, and attending endless meetings, all before the school year begins, to ensure that our little ones are getting the best of what they have to offer. Reaching out, and showing a little empathy before school even starts, will go a long way. Something as simple as a little note, a flower, a pack of pens, or even a short email to wish them well on the first day can really set a positive tone.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if our children came with user guides? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could share those guides with their teachers?
The first few weeks of school are set up to allow teachers time to establish classroom rules and routines, and to get to know their students. Important information like allergies, learning differences, and special accommodations are typically shared prior to the first day, but what about the other things, like- what makes your child’s ears perk, or what are their biggest fears?
Chances are, over the first few weeks of school, your child’s teacher will begin to see what makes your child shine. They’ll see the times when they are boldly raising their hand, or the times when they shrink into their seat. They’ll recognize patterns, and begin to formulate a plan to help nurture your little one.
After the first week, reach out to your child’s teacher. Send a quick email to thank him/her for all of their hard work, and share a few of your child’s favorite things from the week. Share quick insights into your observations of your child, and your preferred way for the teacher to reach you if s/he ever has any observations, questions, or exciting things to share. Let him/her know that you’re excited to work together, and to learn a little more about your child through their eyes.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
There may be some nagging things you want the teacher to know- custody issues, fears and triggers your child may have, environmental events- like the birth of a new baby, or a recent move, that may be affecting your child.
These are all valid concerns that may or may not affect your child during the school year. After the first few weeks of school, once the dust has settled, reach out to your child’s teacher to schedule a conference. You may have limited time, so being prepared before the conference is essential. Keep the conversation focused on your child, and be prepared to discuss strategies that you and the teacher can use to help your child. Write out common goals together, and check in with each other every now and then to share any additional observations or successes.
Above all else, the best way to ensure a successful school year is to build a solid relationship between your family and your child’s teacher. When everyone is on board for the benefit of your child, everyone wins!