It’s Saturday. It’s the Saturday before Easter and most parents are taking a deep breath and putting their feet up.

Their children have next week off of school and after that? It’s the HOME STRETCH! As a teacher, time flew after easter. My guest blogger today has some words of advice to share with you to help you make the rest of your child’s school year the best yet! Pin this for a re-read in the fall! Welcome, Dianne Jeppson from her blog Teachers with Attitude a place where she writes to keep things positive!

In my fifteen-year teaching career, I’ve been a fourth grade teacher, a fifth grade teacher, an ESL teacher, and have now been teaching third grade for the past four years. I absolutely love my job. Every day is different and every day is filled with fun, laughter, and learning. If your job doesn’t include being around little kids, I highly recommend it!

I’m very lucky to be in a supportive school district where the parents support, trust, and respect the teachers. I teach in a wonderful school with exceptional teachers. However, as a teacher, every year some of the same issues seem to arise. So, here are my five T’s (suggestions) for parents to help you to see the other side of the classroom door.

1. Talk
Attend curriculum nights, conferences, school activities, concerts, class parties, field trips, or any other event at your child’s school. Make it a point to be there as often as possible and get to know their friends. Talk to teachers, other parents, and introduce yourself to the principal and school secretaries. Talk to your child’s teacher often and let him/her know if you’ve changed your child’s medications or there has been a major change at home. If you’re trying to test us to see if we’ll notice, take it from me, we will. Be upfront and honest and we’ll do the same with you.

Talk to your child every day when they get home from school. You can extend and enhance their school learning by discussing their day. If you ask what they did in school and they say, Nothing – probe. Ask more questions. Make them accountable for sharing what they learned. If your child tells you something happened at school and you’re concerned, call us. Don’t let it go and worry about it at home.

If your school has a website, become familiar with it. If your child’s classroom has a website, bookmark it. Lots of information is posted weekly to update parents on curriculum, upcoming dates, and important information. It’s your job to read it and check it so you know what’s happening in the classroom and school.

Tell us if your child is being picked up by a neighbor, or taking a different bus home, or going home with a friend. Teachers can multi-task like no other, but the end of the day can get a bit crazy. There’s nothing worse than seeing a look of panic on a little face when the bell rings and they aren’t sure where they are supposed to go after school. Bottom line: communicate, communicate, communicate.

2. Time
Teachers sometimes get a bad rap. Yes, it’s true; we do have breaks throughout the year and have several weeks off in the summer. But this is necessary time to plan and reenergize. Believe me, working with twenty-five children every day is not as easy as it looks. We are professionals who work hard at our job. We come to school early and stay late frequently. We put in extra hours at home. Many of us take classes, have young children, and attend professional development after school. Many times a quick email is the best use of time for both parent and teacher. Just remember, most teachers are with students all day and may not get back to you until after school hours. If you need to talk in person, just like a dentist or doctor, make an appointment, keep it, and show up on time. Our time is valuable like any other professional. Catching us for a quick moment in the hallway before or after school to tell us important information doesn’t always stick. Have you seen how frazzled we look by the end of the day??

We love the fact that kids are excited to get to school early, however, teachers are planning, preparing, and collaborating with other teachers right up until the morning bell rings. We have staff meetings some mornings before school. When you drop your child off early, we are put in an awkward position, or worse still, not able to keep an eye on your little one. Please don’t just assume that an adult will be available before school hours. And of course, on the opposite end of that, if you drop your child off late every day, that puts them behind from the start of the day. Ensure that your child is on time every day. Promptness – it’s a good life lesson.

At conference time, teachers are in parent meetings for hours at a time in the evening, after already teaching for seven hours that day. It’s common to have a thirteen-hour day during these busy times of the year. If you can’t make your conference time, please let us know ahead of time. Although it may be only 20 minutes to you, you would be surprised how valuable that time is to a teacher and how much we can accomplish if we’re not sitting there waiting for someone to show up. In addition, if you’re late, we still have to stick to our tight schedule and meet with the next parent at their scheduled time. You’re short-changing the time we need to fully discuss your child’s progress. Make it a priority.

3. Trust
You can trust us with your child. Without a doubt, Sandy Hook was a tragedy that shook us to our core. But it also allowed the world to see just how serious we teachers take our responsibility for your child’s safety and welfare. Every day. Your child is our number one priority.

We know what’s best for them at school, be it learning, homework, or what student they sit next to. Model and speak about your trust in the school and the teacher at home. If you emphasize the importance of school, homework, learning, and respect for our job it’s evident to us at school in your child’s actions and behavior.

If we tell you that your child needs to be reading more at home, trust us. If we explain that more practice is needed with math skills, help us. Really know in your heart that we are telling you this because we truly want your child to succeed.

4. Toys
Playtime is very important for your child (and I’m not talking about video games!) Lots of current research shows that kids need to have more free play to develop important cognitive skills, problem solving skills, and social skills. Don’t overload your child with activities after school every day and all weekend. They have already put in seven hours at school thinking, cooperating, reading, writing, and learning. Our day begins as soon as the bell rings and includes a rigorous, busy schedule that would exhaust most adults.

Think back on when you were young. There’s something to be said for a pile of legos, with hundreds of pieces and no instructions, or a large empty box and some markers and stickers. Encourage them to use their imagination. Set them free and let them play! Even better, join them.

5. Trio
Parents, a teacher, and a student form a beautiful trio when they work together. It’s like a fine tuned machine. As teachers, we can’t do our job without the parents. We love your kids and do our best to help them grow and develop a love of learning. Look to us as your partner. We appreciate the uniqueness and abilities of every child that comes our way.

I speak, not only as a teacher, but also as a parent of a child who is now grown up and on her own. As a parent, you will turn around in an instant, and your little ones will be off to college or out in the world. I know we are all busy, but kids grow up so fast. We have a small window to work together on giving them the confidence and the abilities to spread their wings and fly.

Together we can make it a tremendous year for your child!

Talk. Time. Trust. Toys. Trio.