Happy Back to school time moms, dads, and children of all ages!
This is a bitter sweet time for everyone. The first day back is always so fun! Everyone is excited for the new year to start. This includes teachers — who went to school specifically to teach not only your children, but everyone else’s too. So wipe those first day tears and remember they will be in the hands of someone who
doesn’t get paid enough wants to teach them all the things you don’t or can’t.
My oldest turns two this month, so my personal experience with first day jitters and cute chalkboard signs is at a minimum. But I did go to two full years of college in hopes of becoming a future mind molder. Lucky for all the youths of America, I decided not to finish my four year degree. LOL! I had more fun with arts and crafts. So I chose to work at a daycare with precious angels under the age of two.
To this day, seeing how they’ve grown (via Facebook or random run ins at Kroger) puts a smile on my face. In the daycare world, starting “school” is a very big deal. This is usually the first time parents leave their babies with anyone but family. As a day care teacher, I always made it my top priority to help parents understand that I was on their team. I too wanted to make sure little Parker had the best day ever or that sweet Caroline finally learned to say her ABCs. Your babies became my babies inside that daycare building. This is a pretty universal feeling amongst teachers of every grade. They are in our corners, on or sides, and routing for the same outcome! Teachers want our children to succeed just as badly as we do.
Without them, we would all be forced to teach them ourselves. That’s a scary thought! As I mentioned earlier, not everyone has the gift that is TEACHING.
For this article, I went to the experts. I asked a group of people who love what they do, “What do you wish parents knew?” I got some great feedback, and I’m hear to share it with you!
Kindergarden is a HUGE step into big kid world. How did your baby get to be so big??? This will be one of their most important teachers. It’s basically the first one they will really remember having. Most kindergarten teachers understand how important this is for both you and your baby. Something important to remember? Kindergarten means your little cutie is a big kid now. One kindergarten teach I asked stated that INDEPENDENCE is the most important skill for every school year. But this is where it all begins “The joy that children feel when they accomplish something on their own is beautiful to see. Not only are you helping your child, but you’re helping out the teacher. Having a student come in that has zero independence is one of the most frustrating things as a teacher.”
“Work with the teacher! Tell her about your child, tell her your worries and concerns, and your child’s strengths and weaknesses. All of these things can help bridge the gap between parents and teachers and make for a more successful school year.” This is so important to keep in mind right from the beginning. Communication is key in any successful relationship. That includes the one between you and your child’s teacher. Starting their school career out on the right foot will help pave a smooth academic future.
Elementary School: Grades (1-4)
Your babies really have grown up so much since kindergarten. It’s a time when they’ve gotten to really learn and understand how school works. Being an elementary school teacher must be TOUGH. Your babies are starting to become responsible for their own actions but still need (a lot of) help and guidance. **Their homework is your homework.**
I spoke with 3rd and 4th Grade teachers, and they both said they love the independence that develops throughout the year. But she wished parents understood that “it’s easy to tell which students read over the summer and which don’t. Especially for younger students, reading is so, so important!” Another elementary school teacher said, “This is the time when they start to read chapter books, and we can have discussions on a deeper level.” Obviously, reading holds great importance at this age.
This is something I will take to heart when my little one gets into grade school. I have always struggled with patience, and sometimes reading with them takes a lot. ESPECIALLY when you have a child learning to read. Lets be real, it can be hard to sit and listen to your child stumble through something you could have read in thirty seconds. Elementary school teachers do this twenty times over. Working on these skills with your kids at home helps make learning easier in school. It might feel like a hassle, but you’re making memories, right?
Middle School: (Grade 5-8)
Things start getting serious here. Your kids have a rep to protect, and parents just don’t understand. Amirite?! Personally I would consider this age group to be the most difficult. Middle schoolers are
SO ANNOYING full of surprises. I know I said my daughter is only two, but I’m thirteen years older than my youngest sister, and people don’t forget. Your kids are becoming tiny versions of who they will be in the future. Their teachers are trying their best to harness all those newly raging hormones. You think it’s bad at home? Imagine a room full of angsty pre-teens. I actually just shuddered at the thought.
Transitioning from middle to highschool is a BIG DEAL. Especially to your kids. Be kind when they seem agitated or closed off. They are likely even more anxious about the big changes than they seem. For some of us, it’s been so long that we forget how important everything felt.
Teachers are some of the biggest supporters our kids will ever have. They dedicate more than just school hours to the same people we dedicate our lives to. “I want parents to know that their kids are safe. I want them to know they don’t have to worry. My job is to protect them, and that’s exactly what I’ll do. I teach them more than just English/Language Arts. I teach them about life.”
Highschool: (Grades 9-12)
I’m getting PTSD flashbacks just thinking about it. You have your whole future ahead of you. Everyone keeps telling you that school, sports, and/or extra curricular activities are what you need for a great future. But you have love interests and friends and the internet. How can we, as parents, help balance their lives and keep our kids on the right track? If you’re even worrying about this — you’re doing a great job. I asked a high school teacher what she wanted parents to know coming into this school year. Her answer might surprise you.
“The end of summer/beginning of school is a very difficult and sensitive transition. It requires patience and support and the majority of the students in the district I work in (low income who come from single parent households) do not have the luxury of these things at home. Simply asking your child how the first day went or what their new teachers are like can make a huge difference in whether or not they feel it is positive and important to start off the school year on the right foot.” Thats deep, y’all.
After talking with her, I quickly realized that their emotional growth is just as important as academics during this time. “They take everything in. And even though they may seem to overreact at times, it’s important to validate their feelings with your attention and concern.” Their teachers really care for them. Just like a parent, teachers want to help your child succeed when moving on into whatever they decide to do next.
It was so nice to get to speak with real teachers on everyone’s favorite subject. All kids have teachers who will love them and teachers who won’t. Either way, they will always be in good hands — as long as you keep up on your end with monitoring homework and keeping open communication. ( Doesn’t hurt to give awesome teacher appreciation gifts too, right?)
Teacher friends, anything else you would add? Parents, do you realize how much teachers love your kids?