I've been teaching school for 6 years now! Go me! A real career woman for six full years, and this coming from a girl who after student teaching thought, "I can't do this, this is such hard work for meager pay, count me out!" Here I am a real life success story, my professors would be so proud!
I have learned a TON in my six years of teaching including a billion things about parenting without actually being a parent. I feel like I'm going to be a real kick-a parent because of all this time I've put in with these rat finks. Here is a run down of what I've learned:
1. Prioritize what's most important. Your kids wearing the latest trends is adorable and I appreciate a cute outfit trust me, but if you're not helping your kid with any homework and instead spend what should be homework time picking out clothes for the next day your priorities suck.
2. Routine is important. I'm a girl who likes a schedule so this has always been true for me, but as a teacher I really notice when kids stay up late. I've had many a student fall asleep at their desk because they had a late night. Bedtime I know is a hassle, but it sure pays off the next day if they get decent sleep.
3. Watch your mouth! You wouldn't believe the stuff I hear from 7 and 8 year olds these days. The other day I heard one say the F-word, the full f bomb right to my face...WHAT!!!? I also hear some weird stories about all sorts of random family drama that I'm sure parents would die if they knew their child was repeating it to me. Kids believe anything and then they repeat it, so look around to see who is listening before you say something you might regret!
4. Supporting the teacher can make all the difference in your child's education. It takes some serious two way communication to ensure success in students every year. If the teacher asks you to fill out a reading calendar every month, do it! If you complain to your kid about reading and doing homework everyday, it will rub off on them and they won't want to do it. Be an example and show your child how important education is for their future.
5. Don't whine about trivial things. You wouldn't believe the phone calls and e-mails I've gotten over the years about dumb irrelevant things. "My child saw something another child did in another class and we're wondering why your class didn't get to do it." "My child wants to sit next to a girl instead of a boy." "My child came home crying because so and so stepped on her foot." Blah blah the list goes on and on. Your kids have to learn that life isn't always fair and sometimes you sit by people you don't like and sometimes people step on your toes, move on!
6. Gifts and positive feedback can do wonders for a teacher's slowly dwindling patience level. The past two years I've had the world's best room mom. Seriously, she was the room mom of all room moms! Teacher appreciation week was the best week of the year, because I was showered with gifts and praise. I have never felt more appreciated in my whole life! It really boosted my spirits and helped me make it through the school year with a great attitude and some serious patience all the way into June. Teachers don't get recognized very often. I love getting notes from my students about what a great teacher I am, but from the parents it means so much! One year I had a parent cry at parent teacher conferences because she had seen such a change in her son from 1st grade, it made my year!
7. Be involved in what is going on in the classroom. I mean, don't go overboard with this, nothing is worse than a helicopter parent who is constantly coming in to talk to me, but offering to volunteer once a week helps a lot! My weekly parent volunteers are irreplaceable, they cut my prep time down and offer one on one help that my students don't always get from me. I have them correct papers, work with kids who are struggling with certain concepts, read one on one with students, etc... The kids love seeing their parent come in and so do I!
8. Get kids to school everyday! I have had attendance problems with one or two students every year. Kids are honest and they will tell me, "I wasn't sick Miss C., my mom just didn't want to bring me to school." When kids miss school they miss important things, some of which can't be made up. It is a big hassle to keep track of all the missing work these attendance problem kids accumulate, and they will have a much deeper knowledge of the concept if they are in school to learn it. If your kid is sick definitely keep them home, but a healthy kid should be at school.
9. Don't slack off in the Summer. Kids drop between 2-5 reading levels in the summer because they don't read. Keep reading and working on math concepts throughout the summer, it will make such a big difference in the Fall when they start school again.
There you have it! I'm sure I'm missing something but I'm done typing for the night, so that will have to do. One day I will read this list when I actually have school age children and maybe I will think, "I really had no clue what I was talking about." For now these nine things seem like good things to know and remember.
Here's to 23 more days of the school year! Mazel Tov!