Summer is over! Can you believe it?! Hopefully your family had a chance to soak in the sun and catch up with loved ones. As a teacher, I enjoy the beginning of the school year. The anticipation of a fresh start and getting back into routines is what I live for! (That and the aisles of newly stocked school supplies.)
Anyone else love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils? No?
Every year I struggled to write my back-to-school letter. I only had one page to tell parents everything I wanted to share. And there are some things you just can’t communicate in a one-page letter.
Parents, there is so much your teacher wants to tell you at the beginning of this new year.
I asked my teacher friends to help me out with this post, and you know what? They all had the same things on their minds. So since they can’t fit it all in their one-page letter, I’m writing it for them here.
Here’s what your teacher wants you to know:
We’re a Team
As teachers, we desperately want to see your children succeed. That’s our job! But more than that–it’s our passion. We didn’t get into this job for the five-minute potty breaks during recess. We became teachers to see children learn and thrive.
So as we talk to you about ways your child is struggling, know that we are going to do everything possible to help. When you have an issue with something in the classroom, let us know your concerns. We want to work with you. You know your child and we know how to teach. When we put those two things together amazing things can happen.
The Full Story Is Tricky
Often kids come home with stories. And sometimes they don’t tell the full story. They’re not trying to lie. They just leave out information that might get them in trouble.
“Bullying” is a word that is thrown around a lot lately. And not always in the correct context. When someone hurts your child emotionally or physically, you want to fix it. Mama Bear is quick to come out.
If your child comes home and complains about a “bully,” work with us to get the full story. Contact your child’s teacher. Tell them what your child told you and let them investigate a bit. Kids are learning to interact socially just like they are learning school subjects. So making sure we as adults approach things with all the information and handle things appropriately is important.
Attitude Is Crucial
It’s kind of like curry.
My husband spent most of his life thinking he hated curry. Then one day he actually tried it. And you know what? My husband loves it now! He realized that his mom always said she didn’t like curry, so he assumed he didn’t like it either.
He assumed it until he actually believed it.
A lot of students like to say they aren’t good at math or reading. And you know what I’ve found? A lot of their parents say, “I was never good at math either.”
Not everyone is going to be Einstein. But the majority of students will be able to be proficient at math if they put in the effort. It made me so sad to hear students express those thoughts because they had already given up. They let it beat them down every time they hit a roadblock. Or worse, used it as an excuse to not try.
So be honest with your kids about your own academic struggles. But remind your child that with hard work your child can be “good” at those difficult topics. Your teacher will know some ways to help.
We Need Your Voice
If there’s only one thing you pay attention to, I hope it’s this.
It’s no secret that New Mexico is at the bottom of education lists. It’s a fact that many politicians and leaders use to gain your attention. As teachers, we work in the system every single day. So yes, we see that the system has problems. And we’ve been fighting to change it.
But there’s a problem. Many times our cries for smaller class sizes and funding for needed materials go unanswered. The people that make those decisions often don’t listen to us.
But you know who they will listen to? Parents.
There are a lot more of you than there are of us. So we need your help. We need you to be active participants in not only your child’s education but educational policy as well. Like I said before, we’re a team. And we, as teammates, need your help.
There are so many more things I could add to this list.
Your kids are amazing. They are the reason we do what we do. Thank you for entrusting your children to us. It’s not something we take lightly.
So as you walk up those school steps, know that there is so much more we want to tell you.
And we can’t wait to be on your team this year.
Originally published August 2018.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.