Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 Parent Promises for the School Year

As a teacher and a mom, I have an understanding about what it feels like to view the school year from both vantage points.  I am acutely aware of how intensely powerful it is to hand your beloved child over to a relative stranger for a large part of the day.  It causes every parent to reflect on the influence both good and bad that teachers can have on a child's life experience.

Conversely, I have also heard too many stories about how great teachers have become burned out--not of their love of children and teaching, but because the parental piece of their jobs became overwhelming.  This is a tragedy.  We need good, kind, dedicated, child-loving teachers, and our job as parents is not to bully them out of their profession because we feel the need to push our child's agenda down their throats.

I also think it is helpful to keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that your child will love every single one of his/her teachers.  When your child is faced with a teacher that he/she is not fond of, look at it as a learning experience and a situation which will allow your child to grow.

The five following promises will help you, as a parent, be mindful of your role in your child's education:

1.  I Promise to attend school conferences and other important parental meetings in an effort to keep myself informed and build important relationships for the benefit of my child's education.

2. I Promise to always investigate my child's claims through other sources rather than immediately react to situations that arise based solely on the immature perceptions of my child.  That is not to say I don't trust him/her but understand that a child's understanding of a situation may not be the same as an adult's perception of the same circumstances.

3.  I Promise to refrain from "bad mouthing" the teacher and other teachers and administrators in the presence of my child or any children who attend the school, as I realize this behavior does not cast me in a favorable light, and does not help my child in any way. In fact, I will make an effort to speak positively about teachers and school in general around my child.

4.  I Promise that if an issue develops, I will contact my child's teacher first and discuss the issue as an adult.  If I am uncomfortable with this, I will ask that we meet with an objective third party, such as another teacher or administrator that I trust.

5.  I Promise to support my child's education by providing structure and encouragement when it comes to grades and homework assignments.  I will emphasize to my child that homework and grades are important and must reflect their best effort at all times.

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