By the Numbers

9 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew

9 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew

On 22 Dec 2014, in

Parents, do you wonder what it takes to help your kids do their very best at school? Here's what teachers say about how you can help them help your kids:

1. Don't be a stranger! Talk to your child's teacher early and often. Back-to-school night shouldn't be the only time you connect, but it's a great time to introduce yourself and find out the best way to contact her in the future. Then stay in touch with updates on how things are going at home, questions about your child and his work, or to schedule conferences to head off trouble. Most teachers have email at school, which is a great way to check in.

2. Learning doesn't stop at 3:15. You can help the teacher do a better job by encouraging your child to show you something he's working on at school. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Ask him to demonstrate how he does long division or to read his book report out loud. Every time your child gets a chance to show off what he knows, it builds confidence.

3. Stay involved -- even when you don't know the material.
You can provide moral support and be your child's cheerleader no matter how well (or poorly) you did in a certain subject. Just knowing a parent is paying attention can be very motivating for a student.

4. Keep your child organized. That means helping teachers with the paper chase. Have your child empty his backpack every day as part of a regular after-school routine. Set up a special place, such as a box in the kitchen, where he can put the day's papers, and provide another spot, such as a desk drawer, for old assignments that you want to save. A bright-colored folder is a good idea for toting homework -- and signed papers -- to and from school. And always keep plenty of school supplies on hand.

5. Let your child make mistakes. Don't forget, he's learning. Teachers don't want perfect students, they want students who try hard. Parents can put too much pressure on their child and forget that it’s okay for kids to get some problems wrong. It's important for teachers to see what students don't know, so they can go over the material again. If your child is struggling with an assignment, help him brainstorm possible solutions. If he's still stuck, resist the temptation to write a note. Instead, encourage your child to take charge by asking the teacher for help the next day.

6. Raise a good reader. Even if your child isn’t a natural-born bookworm, you can encourage him to love literature. Keep reading together, even if your kid can breeze through a book on his own. Reading aloud can expand his vocabulary, and your chats about the book will help him understand and enjoy more. But you might want to shelve books that seem way over his head. It’s tempting to push literary limits, but the goal is understanding and enjoyment. Use audio-books as a tool to inspire love of reading. They’re a terrific way to engage kids in a good yarn. Check out Book Adventure for more with books kids will enjoy.

7. If the teacher deserves a good grade, give her one. Teaching isn't easy, and there are days when a kid has a tantrum, or a teacher feels like crying because a parent speaks to her harshly. So why not email or call when your child enjoys a class event or says something nice about the instructor? And if you feel the teacher is doing a good job, let the principal know. Volunteering is another way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and support, even if you only have time to help out once a year. It shows your child -- and his teacher -- that you really care about his education.

8. The teacher's on your side -- give her the benefit of the doubt. A lot of parents go into attack mode when their child complains about a teacher. Or they take the problem to the principal, so the teacher feels blindsided. Consult the teacher directly first, and get all the facts before you react.

9. There is a secret to better grades. Set up a brief get-together with your child's teacher(s) early in the school year. A one-on-one conversation is the perfect time to bring up important issues, like the fact that your child struggled in math last year or tended to hand in homework late. Also check in with the school’s or teachers’ website to stay on top of your child’s assignments, grades, test dates and scores. Find out what resources there are for you, and use them.

Source: Good Housekeeping

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