The connection between home and school is an important part of boosting student success both inside and outside of the classroom. In my last post, I highlighted the first three tips teachers would want parents to know, including:
- There’s a reason behind the “new way” of teaching math.
- Allow and expect mistakes.
- Change how you praise your child.
Read more to see what other messages your child’s teacher finds important for parents to understand.
#4: Consider what you are asking your child about the school day.
I’m positive that I can sum up a typical conversation you may have had with your child as they get in the car or return home from school.
PARENT: “Hey, sweetie! How was school?”
PARENT: “Good! What did you learn about today?”
CHILD: “Um, I don’t know.”
PARENT: (Thinking about what your child could have done during her 8 hours at school) “Ok…well, what was your favorite part of your day?”
CHILD: “Kadie invited me to her birthday party next week! Oh, and I got the job of line leader this week!”
I know we have all had this type of conversation with our children, and as a teacher, I can assure you we work hard to create memorable lessons for our students and we hope they will share the details with their parents.
Below I have compiled some strategies I have used in my home to learn more about Rayni’s day that may help you get a better idea of what’s happening during your child’s day, besides birthday parties and class jobs.
- Avoid questions that are likely to result in yes/no or one-word-response answers. Instead of asking “if” they had a good day, ask “what” made their day great (or not so great).
- Ask about specific subjects such as math, science, or reading. For instance, inquire into what text your child read that day and ask what was interesting about it, or what they learned that they did not know before.
- Make a point to ask what your child struggled with at school. What was challenging and how did he/she attempt to solve the problem? Guide the conversation into a time of reflection, focusing on how making mistakes is okay and actually helps us improve.
#5: Be prepared for parent-teacher conferences.
Parent-teacher conferences are an important component of your child’s education journey, and teachers truly appreciate parents taking the time to attend because it gives us the opportunity to make sure we are all on the same page. It’s easy to focus on a child’s behavior or friends, both of which play a key role in a child’s academic development, but there are other topics you may not have considered that could impact your child’s true progress towards grade-level expectations.
One way that parents can prepare for a parent-teacher conference is to be aware of the standards that their child is expected to master by the end of the school year. These are available to view online, and have recently been made even easier to access through Florida Students Achieve. Ask your child’s teacher which standards your child is struggling to master and what you can do at home to help them reach the full extent of the standard.
#6: Stay in constant communication.
Many teachers today take advantage of a variety of technology tools to help keep parents updated on what’s happening in their classrooms. Some tools are very similar to the structure of social media and make it easy for parents to navigate and communicate. Check with your child’s teacher to see what methods are being used to keep parents updated.
How often should you communicate with your child’s teacher? At minimum, once every nine weeks, but if you have questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s teacher about it. Knowing what you can do at home to encourage your child’s growth is essential, and teachers appreciate knowing they’ve got your support.