Forsyth Family Magazine August 2017

What Teachers & Administrators Want Parents to Know Before School Begins

BY KORI MACKALL, Director of Communications, The Piedmont School

While families are taking their final beach trips, squeezing in one more summer camp, or trying to figure out exactly how many days/hours/minutes/seconds are left until their kids head back to the classrooms, teachers and administrators are zoned in on preparing for another wonderful school year. In fact, many have been making preparations from the moment students walked out the school doors on their last day of school. As summer winds down, and a new school year gears up, here are 10 Things Teachers & Administrators Want Parents To Know Before School Begins:

  • Take a deep breath; we are all in this together. Whether you are sending your first child to kindergarten or last child into their senior year, the beginning-school jitters affect us all. Remember to take a deep breath, enjoy the moment, and know that teachers and administrators start every year with the goal of it being the best year yet.primary1stday
  • Emphasize attendance to your child. Attendance is one of the top predictors of educational success and grooming children to understand they have to show up to succeed is giving them a huge head start.
  • Try not to carry over negative experiences from previous school years. We know that there are ups and downs in a child’s educational career. We know that there are teachers that may not have meshed well with your child. But try to view the start of each new school year as just that, a fresh new start.
  • Find a communication system that works for you—and stick to it (and tell us what it is!). Whether it be texting, e-mail, phone calls, weekly communication folders or daily agenda notes, decide what the best way is for the school to contact you, and let the teacher and front office know.
  • School calendars belong on the refrigerator! As we gear up toward a more technologically driven society, we have begun to lack appreciation for hard copies. Make sure to keep a hard copy of your child’s school calendar for the whole year on the front door of your refrigerator. This is the best chance for keeping up with Early Release Days, Teacher Workdays, Vacation Days, and any long-range planned events.
  • Be cautious about speaking negatively about administrators/teachers, school rules, curriculums, or assignments in front of your child. Children, even the older ones, are sponges and overhearing frustrations or complaints (even if well-deserved) can change a child’s perception of an academic situation and, even worse, can negate its importance to them. If they hear that their math homework is “absolutely ridiculous” over and over, then they will begin to believe it is frivolous and that will carry over into their day-to-day attitude at school. If there are concerns with assignments, personnel, or school rules, they should be addressed in private, with the necessary adults involved.
  • Make sure to communicate big changes in the home. While we value and respect your privacy, it is important to share big life- changing events (death in the family, divorce/separation, moving homes, issues with siblings or family members, etc.). Share these things with a school counselor, administrator or a teacher you trust, so we can be on the look-out for any sudden changes in behavior or any signs of a struggle.
  • The beginning of the year is overwhelming for us all. We want to make sure everything is in place, but we can never predict the last- minute changes or the surprises that come our way on day one, no matter how well or how long we prepare. Please have patience with us while the beginning-of-the-year kinks are worked out.
  • Teachers and Administrators are humans. Contrary to popular belief among some students, we are not pre-programmed robots or aliens here to take over our students’ minds. We are human, and with that, mistakes will be made. We try to hold ourselves to the highest of professional standards, and we care deeply about what we do in our classrooms or our buildings, but from time to time we make mistakes. We misspell names; we accidentally mark a question incorrect when it is correct; we call your work line when you told us not to; we forget to send home the copy of the test you asked to see; these things will happen. We will try to make sure that we are on our pre-programmed super-robot game more days than not, but just remember, we make mistakes, too.
  • 99% of all teachers and administrators are in this profession for the right reasons. That makes the odds pretty good that we will love your child like they are our own. We will educate your child to the best of our abilities with as much passion as we want them to carry forth into their own lives. We will be a champion for them. We will challenge them. We will hold them accountable the way the world will. We will be there to pick them up when they fall (and they will from time to time), and we will hopefully become some of the most influential and important mentors of their lives.
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