What Your Teachers & Administrators Need To Know About Your Kid

ALTHOUGH A NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS A FRESH START, IT CAN TAKE SOME ADJUSTING FOR EVERYONE. AS A PARENT, YOU CAN OPEN UP WITH TEACHERS AND SHARE INSIGHTS ABOUT YOUR CHILD TO ENSURE THE NEW ACADEMIC YEAR IS OFF TO THE RIGHT START FROM THE BEGINNING.

Posh Seven spoke with Loudoun County teachers and administrators to find out what, specifically, parents should share with educators in the first few weeks of school.

THEIR ROUTINES AND FAMILY LIFE
Teachers typically only see their students in the classroom setting and want to understand life at home. Dawn Blevins is a 4th grade teacher at Guilford Elementary, a Title 1 school in Sterling. She said parents should share everything about their kid and home life, from whether they eat breakfast to who lives at home. Knowing the answers to these types of questions helps a teacher understand what support students have when they leave the classroom as well as their immediate needs. “Children cannot learn if immediate needs are not met,” said Blevins.

Other tidbits worth sharing are: if parents work, who helps with homework, whether English is the primary language, if a child lives with both parents, and how they’re getting to and home from school. Educators encourage a consistent routine from day one, particularly for younger aged children.

PRIOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Teachers will have a snapshot of a student’s educational journey, but they may not know how the student got to that point. Sharing how your child learns best could better prepare a teacher to adapt to his or her specific needs.

“It is always helpful to know which type of learner the student is (auditory, visual, kinesthetic),” said John Tuck, assistant principal at Rolling Ridge Elementary in Sterling and former 5th grade teacher. “There were years that I had to find a song for every single topic and other years where material had to be presented with a side-by-side visual because that is how the majority of my students learned best.”

TELL THEM WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR KID
You’ve been raising your kid way before the teacher has come into the picture. That makes you an expert in your child. Share with teachers what has personally worked for you and even what hasn’t when it comes to motivation. This will eliminate some of the guesswork and trial and error for teachers. “Some students are easily motivated but, for others, it takes a little bit more to peel back the layers to see what is going to get them going,” said Tuck.

Maybe it’s rewarding them with stickers, a word of positivity, or sharing a personal story that resonates with your kid. Whatever it may be, share it with your child’s teacher.

THEIR INTERESTS
Compile a list of extracurricular activities, such as sports and other hobbies, that bring happiness and joy into your child’s life. Teaching is all about relationships, and knowing this information can help a teacher make a connection early on in the school year and encourage your child to work extra hard. “It is truly amazing what a student will accomplish if they want to do well for both themselves and the teacher,” said Tuck.

Many teachers attend school performances or sporting events to show their support for students and build a trusting relationship. Help them establish this bond.

ANYTHING ELSE THAT’S NOT ON A STANDARD SCHOOL DOCUMENT
Typically papers will go home that will cover miscellaneous information for the teacher to get to know your child. If there is something that has developed over the summer or you failed to mention previously, go ahead and share. Whether it’s a major change in the family, or a health or behavioral issue, the ideal scenario is to inform everyone at the start of the school year to open the line of communication.