Mighty Mommy shares six ways to stay connected to your child’s teacher and school as we prepare for a new calendar year and the second half of the school term.
Now that school’s been in session for several months, our kids are definitely more comfortable with their teachers, new friends, and hopefully their more structured routines. After- school activities, sporting events, play dates, and homework are the norm now and memories of the lazy days of summer vacation are tucked far away.
Many schools have parent/teacher conferences as the first semester wraps up, so now is a great time to evaluate how things are going with your child’s school life. Mighty Mommy shares six ways to stay connected with your child’s teacher and school as we prepare for a new calendar year and the second half of the school term.
Tip #1: Check in Mid -Year
I always make it a point to introduce myself to my kid’s teachers or teaching teams at the beginning of the school year. I generally do this via an e-mail to the teacher or team and let them know I’m excited my child will be in their particular classroom/team for that school year and offer my cooperation to work together with them throughout the year. This includes giving them my e-mail and best phone numbers where I can be reached. I also offer up any tid-bits about my child’s personality and learning style so they can glean an understanding as to why my son or daughter learns the way he/she does.
Now that the dust has settled and the kids have been back in class for nearly four months, take a few minutes to reconnect with your child’s teacher. Send an e-mail or leave a phone message letting your teacher know you are simply checking in and want to touch base to see how everything is going. Chances are no news is good news, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the lines of communication open, even if just to say you’re pleased with how a particular subject is going. The more you get to know your child’s teacher early on, if and when a concern does crop up, you’ve already cultivated a relationship, which can definitely help ease a difficult situation between your child and his teacher.
Tip #2: Stay Involved
Once the initial back-to-school events are over, be sure and stay involved. Make a point to show up and participate in events, such as the annual science fair, the school carnival, and holiday food drives, as well as supporting your school’s major fundraisers.
Be on time, be positive, and be prepared for school activities and meetings. Today’s technological world provides plenty of opportunities to connect with your child’s school and teacher(s). Email, websites, online “gradebook” programs that allow you to track and monitor your child’s work/grades, and the good old telephone help you stay in touch with your child’s progress and her teacher.
Offer to volunteer your time in the classroom or as a chaperone on class trips.
Consider donating classroom supplies or a gift certificate to a store where teachers can purchase materials for the classroom. (You'd be surprised how many supplies teachers buy with their own money!) Having a physical presence in your child’s school community, regardless of whether it’s Kindergarten or High School promotes how important your child’s education and school experience is to you as the parent.
Tip #3: Join the PTA/PTO
Dozens of research studies show that when parents get involved, children do better in school. If your school has a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) or Parent Teacher Association (PTA), you might consider attending the next meeting. The PTO knows what’s happening with the school, who's involved, and usually plans many of the events so by joining or even attending a few meetings a year you will be in the know. In addition, by being part of the local PTO, in most cases, make your kids proud of you. They may not admit it (they may even grumble), but they will feel proud that their parents are involved in improving their school's well-being. I have been involved in my kid’s PTO for over 15 years now. I’ve made many close friendships through the school and have met lots of students that I wouldn’t have otherwise. When I go out in the community and a student recognizes and greets me, I feel good but my kids really feel great about that. By becoming a PTO member, you’re also becoming a role model and demonstrating to your child the importance you place on education as well as on being involved in their world.