Let me just drop three words on you, NEW SCHOOL YEAR! Yep, it’s that time of the year. Hip, hip, hooray! So you know what this means? No, I am not referring to your grocery bill returning back to normal from the mortgage-payment-level that it has been for the past few months. I mean, really, how many times can a kid eat? I am referring to your child entering a new school year with a new teacher.
The nervousness of not only that first day, but those first few weeks, is relentless. I have to be honest, each new year reminds me of a roller coaster ride, LITERALLY! There is excitement and thrill, yet terrifying fear of what to expect!
Your stomach knots up as you wonder who’s behind the classroom door.
We have all had these questions about new teachers swimming fiercely through our minds: Is she/he kind? Is she/he patient? Does she/he have the time to invest in my child and influence her/him in a positive way?
And the one question that we hate to admit that we ponder … Is this her/his first year teaching? Unfortunately, most have adopted the concept that first-year teachers do not know what they are doing. This couldn’t be more FALSE. Despite it being a new learning and growing experience for them, new teachers usually come in with a fresh perspective and passion!
Over the years, I have been extremely blessed that all my children have had some of the most caring, understanding, and influential teachers. We have all heard horror stories about parents who have had “bad experiences”. I thank God that during my children’s elementary school years (in my opinion, the most important developmental stage) I have never had a situation that required my inner mama bear to make a visit to a school.
The impact that a teacher can have in a child’s life is immeasurable. I myself have had some amazing teachers! Many that inspired me to dream BIG! Please excuse me while I name drop: Mrs. Mary Slaughter, my health teacher and coach, who never let me quit and always required my best! Mrs. Pumpkin, my 6th grade teacher, who always told me I was smart and made me feel special. And last but not least, Mrs. Cole, my 11th grade English teacher, who encouraged me and told me that one day I would write and become an author! [Excuse me again as I self-promote … my new children’s Christmas book, Mrs. Jingles is Coming to Town, is scheduled to be released this fall.] I am living proof that teachers really do make an impact.
I have also had the pleasure of working in a school system as a paraprofessional. It was during those years that I received a clearer understanding of how remarkable not just school teachers are, but all school staff, from the principals, to paraprofessionals, to cafeteria workers and custodians!
During those years, I felt like I had breached the walls and was on the other side, the INSIDE! It was a great advantage, being a school-age parent and a school employee. I truly learned many valuable lessons — lessons that I am excited to share today!
Here is the inside scoop on facing, head-on, a new school year.
1. Take a deep breath and exhale.
You got this!!! Believe it or not, children have the wonderful capability to learn how to adjust and adapt pretty well — often better than we do! Your child may have not gotten the teacher he/she wanted, but this new school year can still be amazing! It is up to you to set the tone of how this year will go!
2. Be patient.
There is a reason that we say, “Patience is a virtue”. Have patience, not only with your child and his new learning experiences, but with his new teacher as well. You may have situations arise that are not ideal, but if you are patient, there is nothing that you and your child’s teacher will not be able to work through.
3. Don’t expect perfection.
I hate to be the one to bust many bubbles, but not only is your child’s new teacher not going to be perfect, neither is your child. There is nothing wrong with having high expectations, but when you try to make things go perfectly, you will usually end up disappointed.
4. Allow your child’s teacher to do his/her job.
Many teachers can see the potential in our children and know what it takes for them to thrive, but if you are constantly telling your child that he can’t do a certain assignment, or you even do his work/projects for him, you are at risk of hindering your child’s capability or even causing him to doubt himself.
5. Establish a united front.
Let’s face it, our sweet angels can be sometimes be little stinkers and try to play us adults against each other. This is why it is crucial for you to establish a united stand with your child’s teacher.
6. Be honest — it’s ok to express your concerns.
Please be honest and don’t be afraid to express your concerns about your child. Believe it or not, teachers welcome an open line of communication. Despite what many believe, they will not bite your head off, dislike you, or treat your child differently because you have concerns.
7. Don’t be THAT parent.
Don’t be the parent that constantly complains about your child’s teacher, and especially in front of your children. The kids will lose respect for the teachers, which could lead to behavior problems in the classroom. Children are like little sponges and absorb everything we say!
8. Never rant on social media about a teacher.
This is just a NO-NO. There is no need to explain.
9. Let your child flourish.
Whether we want to accept it or not, our children can act completely differently around us than they do school. They are capable of doing a whole lot more than what they would like for us to believe.
10. Enjoy the ride!
There will be ups and downs, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. What I mean by this is, when you look back at the end of the school year and see the growth and development of your child, you can’t help but smile.
I pray that you and your children have a blessed and wonderful school year!