This post should not take long at all. For parent expectations on helping your child through their educational journey, please refer to Chapter 5: The Educational Journey in The Parent Manual. Oh, wait…there isn’t a parent manual. Well, let’s just keep going then, shall we?
For those parents who have not started this journey with their children, let me just say it is going to be a roller coaster of a ride emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It is also extremely important that you are engaged in this journey for the benefit of your child. This may sound like an obvious statement, but I just want to make sure no stone is left unturned. The truth of the matter is, you are your child’s first teacher and will continue to teach them along this marathon we call “formal education”.
From a veteran teacher to the parents, here are the expectations to make your child’s education amazingly wonderful!
Love your child well every day! Tell them, “I love you!” at random times when you see them. Hug them often. Give them your undivided attention at some point during the evening. It is amazing what sitting down and playing board games or doing a puzzle or going for a walk will bring out in your child. GREAT conversation happens during those times. I have read in several publications that the emotional stability of the home is a huge factor in student success.
Discipline your child. Kids know there are rules and expectations and need to learn there are rules and expectations. There are consequences for not meeting those expectations and following the rules. That is real life. Try to make the discipline fit the infraction while explaining to the child why it is wrong. For example, if a child is throwing his/her food at dinner, it is very appropriate to have them clean up the mess they made. Just sending a kid to their room just removes them from the situation. As they get older, if you ask them to do certain chores on a daily basis, hold them accountable. If they do not have their chores done and someone calls to go hang out, the answer is not until you finish what you need to do. You have to be creative and stick to what you know you need to do.
When you sit down and talk to your child about what they did wrong, talk to them about how it made YOU feel and others who were impacted by your child’s decision. They will probably sincerely apologize, which is awesome! That being said, there are still consequences for their choices. THIS IS SO HARD! The sooner you start holding your children accountable, the easier it will be as they grow because they know you love them and mean what you say. This will all translate to how they act in class and interact with their peers. YOU CAN DO IT!!
Be supportive of the teacher! The majority of teachers love kids and have their best interests at heart. Teachers are human beings working with a large number of kids at one time…different personalities, life issues, learning styles, and the list goes on. Teachers are going to make mistakes. As a parent, you make mistakes with your child and no one loves your child more than you do. If you do not like a particular assignment or class, do not let your negative attitude or dislike be known to your child because it will come into the classroom.
If there is an issue, communicate RESPECTFULLY with your child’s teacher FIRST. If you are upset, take some time to calm down. Many times, it is a misunderstanding. There are always 2 sides to the story. If things still do not seem right, then you can move to the building principal. Give the teacher a chance…communicate like adults. If things are not better or the issue continues, then go to the building principal.
I always told my parents, “Please do not call and yell at me, because I am never going to call and yell at you. Please do not send me a nasty email or leave me a nasty voicemail because I am not going to respond. We are adults who want what is best for your child. Let’s communicate and be on the same team.”
Let your child “scrape their knees”! Experience is the best teacher. When you have a little one who is exploring, sometimes they have to fall down that one step to learn why you told them “no”. Natural consequences are a great motivator. If your child is making poor choices and seems to be influenced negatively by someone else, allowing them to suffer a consequence after you have told them over and over to distance themselves from that person is a great learning experience for them. Listen to them and their teacher. Talk to them about what they need to change so it does not happen again. If you “rescue” your child from every situation they put themselves into, they will not learn the importance of following the rules and meeting your expectations.
To be fair, not all teachers truly love kids. Respectfully communicate with that teacher regularly. Instead of bashing that teacher in front of your child, talk to him/her about what he/she can do to be successful. What an AMAZING opportunity for your child to grow. As I stated earlier, involve administration where appropriate.
It takes a village to raise a child, it truly does. I was blessed with some amazing teachers, fantastic coaches, great youth group leaders, and parents of my friends who kept an eye on my friends and me. Build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher. Seek advice from friends and those you respect who have raised amazing kids!
There is no job more important than being a parent! You’ve got this!
p.s. Teachers… your expectations are next!