Back-to-school time is exciting, nerve-wracking and—not the least of all—rather crazy. But don’t worry: there are steps you can take to make this hectic time easier on both students and teachers. Seasoned instructors share here the essentials that assist them as they guide your child’s transition back to the classroom.
A Backpack Full of Goodies
“Make sure your students bring all of their supplies on the first day,” recommends Carmen Daubs, a second-grade teacher in Lincoln, Ill. Most schools provide a list of necessary supplies. This might be mailed to you or available for pickup at local stores. If you aren’t sure how to obtain a supply list, call the school office.
“Things like pencils, erasers, glue sticks, dry erase markers and tissues are always on the list. Those items always seem to run out quickly,” elaborates fifth-grade teacher Ashlee Thompsen of Cambridge, Md.
Health and Wellness
How much of your child’s medical situation you disclose is up to you, but teachers want to you to know that the more information they have, the more they can help your child.
Allergies are a big one to tell the teacher about, particularly food allergies. Other things you might want to share with your child’s teacher include medications, medical conditions and mental illnesses, especially if they might affect his or her school performance. And if there’s a chance that your child will need an inhaler or insulin while at school, inform the teacher, so she can be prepared when the need arises.
Keeping in Touch
Teachers want to keep you in the loop, but they need to know how to do it. These days, there are plenty of ways to get in touch with folks, but some people prefer one method over another. Let your child’s teacher know which approach is best for you. “Do they check email regularly, do they receive text messages and what phone number is best?” asks Thompsen.
Even if your phone is always on you, there may be times when an immediate need arises and you’re unreachable. Provide emergency contact numbers, just in case.
Furthermore, if your contact info changes over the course of the school year, make sure to update the teacher.
Life at Home
Families come in all shapes and sizes, so fill your child’s teacher in on your family arrangement. Daubs wants to know, “Whom do they live with?” From parents to siblings, live-in relatives to custody agreements, let the teacher know what your family is like.
Has your child’s living situation changed recently? A move, a divorce or a deployment could have an effect on school performance, so keep the teacher in the loop, both at back-to-school time and throughout the year.
All About Me
Teachers want to connect with their students, and getting the scoop on your child can help them do that. “I teach in a small school,” shares Thompsen, “so I typically know the majority of students before they enter my class. But my daughter’s kindergarten teacher asked parents to share a little about their child’s personality: their interests, fears, etc. Knowing these things helps a lot with planning.”
Any information that can help the teacher transition the student into a new school year is helpful. “I like to know how students feel about school,” adds Daubs.
Back-to-school means the start of something new. Make it a great start by sending your child well-prepared for a fantastic year.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.