Teachers get blamed for a lot of things. It sure feels like everyone is saying, if your child isn’t learning fast enough, has behavior issues, doesn’t like school, isn’t motivated to learn, or just isn’t succeeding…blame a teacher. I know that isn’t how most of the families feel, but sometimes I wish the parents of my students knew a few things to help us all have a better school year.
Yes, there are some teachers who do not have as much experience as others, but I am not one of them. I have been teaching children for many years and I feel like I understand them pretty well. However, I understand that I may not be up to speed on exactly what your child struggles with-so the more communication you share with me the more we can work together. I may not be able to incorporate every suggestion, but having more communication is always effective.
Teaching is a lot like parenting multiple children. Sometimes you try something that worked before with another child, but it isn’t quite a fit with the next child. Please respond with grace and not criticism as we work together to figure out what we can do to help your child succeed. Just as I tell parents “you don’t get children to perform better by making them feel worse”, this also applies to teachers. Understanding that we are human and working with us instead of against us goes a long way. Remember, we are on the same team-the one where we both want your child to thrive.
Yes, as much as you may like to think that sending your child off for 7 hours a day to learn means that the ball is entirely in my court-think again. So much of what children are able to learn at school is affected by what happens at home. There are some things you can do at home to help your child succeed that are far more important to their overall development. I cannot do this alone. Learning is not confined to the classroom, here are some ways you can support learning at home.
Teachers need your support. We have overflowing classes, limited budgets, and as much as we try to support individual needs-we need support as well. Giving your child responsibilities at home, modeling respect and empathy for others, and setting boundaries and limits with your children help our classrooms. Also, understanding why disruptive behaviors happen can be key to helping support your child.
The brain has lower levels which control things like sensory input, motor input, emotion control, and the fight/flight response. The Frontal Lobe control things like executive function skills including following directions, task completion, organization, and attention. If the lower levels are overwhelmed with processing sensory and motor information, or if fight/flight is frequently triggered, then it is difficult for us to engage your student for learning. One way to help your child build better lower brain connections is through movement, so get them outside and PLAY!
Movement has been linked to improved reading, test scores, and more controlled behavior. It is important that children have enough time to move and play throughout the day. At school, we can often be limited by schedules and budget constraints. However, getting your children to move at home is critical to brain development. It can affect everything from sensory systems, impulse control, motor control, and executive functioning skills. Making movement and play a priority in your household can absolutely be a key to improving their academic performance. At-home movement programs such as movementmatters.com are also available.
It is important that academics are supported at home as well. Teachers don’t assign homework because we love grading it. We assign homework to help support what your child is learning in class. When you spend time working with them on their homework, you can see what they struggle with-and maybe even share what is working well at home.
I know at times it seems like just another thing we are asking you to do-but your kids REALLY need you reading to and with them. Even if they are older, reading together is just as important as when they are younger. If you do have a beginning reader a few tips for success are listed here. Studies have shown that students who read 20-30 minutes per night do as well as TEN TIMES better on tests than those students who do not. Reading is a great way to bond at the end of the day as well as support your child academically and socially.
Finally, I hope you know that I have a passion for what I do. I enjoy spending time with your child and helping to shape their future. I would love to have the support, respect, and teamwork with the parents of my students. Let’s work together to make this the best year yet!