The following post was written by contributor Emily Carter of The Pilots Wife. It originally appeared in September 2010.
The time is upon us again. Back to School is in full swing across the country. As you are gathering your supplies and shopping for new clothes, I wanted to share some thoughts on heading back to school from a teacher’s perspective.
Your child’s teacher might not share these things with you, but I can assure you, they will be thinking them!
6 Tips for Heading Back to School
1. View This Year as a Clean Slate
Last year your child may have had their very favorite teacher (or maybe not-so-favorite). Regardless of the previous teacher, look at this new year as a chance to start fresh.
Your new teacher will probably be different than last year’s so give your child some time to adjust to different expectations and routines.
2. Everyone is Nervous at the Beginning
Your child’s teacher is probably just as nervous as you and your child. Most teachers, especially those of us in the elementary grades, get a little nervous speaking in front of a crowd of adults.
We had our “Meet the Teacher” night just a few weeks ago. In the hours before it began, I frantically put the finishing touches on my room and then delivered my son to a babysitter. When I got in my car to head to the school, my car battery was dead. A jump from a neighbor got me there just in time, but I slid into the room mere seconds before the parents, sweaty and stressed.
My point is this: if your new teacher makes a poor first impression, cut them some slack. They are nervous and excited too!
3. The Two Best Practices
The two best practices for back to school are a good night’s sleep the night before and a healthy breakfast that morning. You’ve heard it before, but well rested, well fed children have better attention spans and have fewer behavior problems.
If your child has gotten into the habit of staying up late and sleeping in over the summer, try moving their times back a half an hour at a time until they can wake up in plenty of time to get ready and eat a filling breakfast.
4. Stick to the School Supply List
Teachers make their School Supply List with their specific classroom and their specific routines in mind, so they have a specific purpose for the things they request.
This is probably most important for the things they say not to bring.
For example, if a teacher requests a three-ring binder, but no large trapper keepers. Or a pencil bag, but no pencil boxes. It may seem silly to you, but the teacher knows what will fit in the desks or storage areas, and what items will cause a problem.
If you want to purchase fun items that aren’t on your supply list, check with your teacher before sending them to school. Those items could always be used at home as an incentive to work on homework!
5. Stick to the Dress Code
This is a big one. I know that kids whine and complain about what they wear to school. I’ve heard them! However, it will be a much bigger hassle if you are called to bring more clothes because your child’s outfit doesn’t meet dress code.
If picking out clothes before school is a huge fight, try picking out all five outfits on Sunday evening and then letting your child choose from the approved choices each morning. They still get the freedom to choose which outfit on which day, but the choices are limited and all appropriate for school.
6. Have a good attitude!
Your children take their cues on how to feel about school from their main teachers: you. Try to maintain a positive attitude about school and your teacher, and that attitude will rub off on your kids!
It has been a few years since I’ve taught in the elementary classroom. I took some time off when my son was born and last year I had a position outside of the classroom. This year I’ll be teaching third grade again, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Parents or other teachers, what are your best Back to School tips?