Friday, December 21, 2007

Wonderful Parents

I didn't want to end the year on a negative note about parents. So, today's post is about some of the things the great moms and dads have done for me and my students over the years. If you want to be wonderful in the eyes of your child's teacher, do things like this:

Volunteer! Even a half-hour a week can be a huge help to your child's teacher. In my classroom I have my volunteers work with kids, and assist with clerical things. I try to have a variety of things for them to do, because everybody has different talents. I've a got a fantastic mom who comes in weekly for about 45 minutes at a time and she makes all the copies I'll need for the coming week. She's an angel! I've got several moms who come by for a half-hour after lunch and drill kids on their multiplication facts. The kids benefit from that so much, because the ones who are struggling with multiplication usually are not getting that practice with their mom and dad at home.

I've also got several moms who come once a week each, and work with my lowest math students while I teach the lesson whole-class. Those moms really micro-manage those students as they practice math skills like double-digit multiplication and long division. In a big class like mine, it would be very hard for me to give them that much attention. In fact, it's just not possible. Those moms fill in the gap for those kids. Since I started using volunteers that way, my lowest students' scores on the state tests have improved dramatically! Last year, all 31 students were proficient or advanced in math on that test. Something about that extra supervision just improves their skills and confidence.

I've also had volunteers with expertise in science and art teach whole units to my students in the past. The kids are thrilled when someone else makes a guest appearance like that. Last year, this really tough-guy kind of dad came in and taught all the hands-on lessons for our unit on electricity and magnetism. He was great with the kids! They really listened, and I think he gained an appreciation for how hard my job is!

And, then there are the thoughtful and generous parents. The sweet, single, working mom who could never volunteer because of her work schedule, but who always came to conferences with a Starbucks treat in hand for me. I loved that! And, over the years, there have been many generous families who have given me beautiful gifts. Some of those gifts were just way over the top - I would never expect anything like that - but, wow! What a treat!

I think the biggest things to know are that your child's teacher probably works very, very hard. He or she probably entered teaching because they have a passion for teaching and learning, and they most likely really care about their students. They are not your enemy. Show them a little respect and kindness. Treat them like you'd treat any other professional. Treat them how you'd like to be treated.

Lastly, I must say that most parents are pretty wonderful, and so are their kids! There are so many families that I just have the fondest memories of from the last twelve years. I wouldn't keep teaching if that weren't the case!


Stephanie said...

Great post - I sure hope I land in the "good parent" catagory!

Stephanie said...

BTW, that's me above, Stephanie @ forksandchopsticks!

Special K said...

Okay... note to self... bring Starbuck's to the conference. LOL!

Thanks for the tips.

Mob said...

Thank you so much for that post. I will remember all of that when Hannah starts school. I am going to love being a volunteer because when my older daughter was in gradeschool I had to work full time and could not volunteer for anything.