Welcome to 2016 and what the first term brings with it! I’m sure you feel just like I do: holidays, when? Did we have them? Or was it all a dream with the New Year a distant memory?
In its place we have a new rhythm comprised of a routine governed by homework, projects, extra murals, sports and more. I hope this routine has started well for you and that you’ll have a 2016 filled with many great things. If you’re struggling with routine, read my blog about routine and why it’s important in everyone’s lives.
It is really still early days in 2016, yet teachers are already showing their frustration. This frustration is warranted, as a good start to the year influences the success of the year and the relationship between parent, child and teacher.
So what are the frustrations causing concern for your child’s teacher, and how do they disrupt the flow of the school day?
1. Labelling of Personal Items
Same old, same old. When half of the class has unmarked stationery it really is a problem. Either it takes 5 minutes trying to figure out who belongs to the missing red crayon, it just doesn’t seem to belong to anybody, and then it sits in the lost property box until the end of the year.
The number of socks (only one of a pair mind you) and underpants that lie around unclaimed are mind-boggling.
Remember there are many children with exactly the same brand of clothing and stationery.
Every school has a hair policy yet we spend so much time running after children (and their parents) reminding them what the policy is. Time spent phoning, sending home letters, discussions with the child and invariably detention is wasted. Policies are there for a reason. Ensure your child sticks to them.
A ridiculous amount of time is taken to check that homework is done effectively and then to reprimand those that haven’t completed it (and explaining why it was important in the first place) and then following up with demerits.
Homework must be monitored at home by an adult. It has been sent for a reason. If your child isn’t coping with the homework sent home, make an appointment to see the teacher to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
4. Signing of the Homework Diary
There is a reason why teachers ask that homework diaries be signed and that is because it’s their way of communicating with you. It is thus courtesy for you to sign the diary.
If you have a system at home whereby your child brings the homework book to you to sign and for whatever reason doesn’t, punish them at home for the misdemeanor, but still sign the homework book and send it to school. The teacher needs to know you are monitoring the homework.
5. General Appearance
We all know that when we feel good about ourselves, and especially our appearance, that we feel more confident and ready to tackle what comes our way. Your child is the same. Looking smart in their school uniform conjures up pride and respect for themselves and their school.
Check their uniform regularly – is it clean, are there any rips, does it still fit properly, do their shoes look neat and tidy? Take a day, maybe over a weekend, to inspect the uniform with your child. Also check the length of your child’s nails (nail polish – we do see it during Phys Ed), hair (boy does it grow quickly), appearance of schoolbag, etc. People notice others that take pride in themselves.
6. Arriving at School Prepared and On Time
We know what it’s like to start the day “on the wrong side of the bed”. By being prepared the night before it will help your child to have a restful sleep and get up feeling ready for the day.
Make sure the journey to school is as stress free as possible. Get your child up timeously. Make sure that your morning expectations are realistic and that a routine is followed. Get up earlier than your family, if need be, so that you can feel in control, calm and awake ensuring a smooth start to the day.
7. Listening To, And Following Instructions
This is a huge area of concern as there are many ramifications, in many areas at school, if your child is unable to listen to and follow instructions. If you are having a problem with this at home, it’ll only be exasperated in a classroom. This contributes to a low self-esteem, a feeling of failure and being overwhelmed. Ask the teacher for advice and follow through with suggestions made. The key here is being consistent.
8. Getting Enough Sleep
This is of utmost importance for your child to be able to learn optimally in class. That, and a healthy diet. Persevere with both and everyone will reap the benefits.
9. Disrupting the Class While During Lessons
Learning self-control is a form of respect that should be practiced no matter where we are. If disrespect is allowed at home it will surface at school. Unfortunately this is very disruptive in class, and if it is continuous, it can actually dramatically alter how a teacher teaches a particular class.
Do not allow disrespect at home and have consequences if your child does step out of line. However, children need to be heard, so come up with a strategy for them to get your attention at home without shouting at you or interrupting your conversation. They need to learn to wait their turn.
For example, by placing their hand on your shoulder/elbow, when they want your attention and you are busy, they will know you are aware of their presence and that you’ll get to them as soon as you are able to.
10. “… but I was also like that at school.”
We don’t doubt that you acted in the same way as your child when you were his or her age, but ask yourself if you want the same for your child. You can be part of the process to make your child’s school years a success and ultimately enjoyable for them. School should have a positive impact and leave lasting, good memories.
One of these, or maybe none of these, pertains to your child. However I thought it important for you as a parent to realise just how time consuming these seemingly “petty” and little (sometimes big) intrusions are. And they can all be eliminated and avoided, thus giving the teacher more time (making her less of a nag), establishing a learning environment conducive to effective learning and teaching.
All of the above scenarios can be avoided by us as parents, by being aware, being prepared and by adhering to the school’s policies and what each individual class teacher requires to effectively teach your child. A prepared child is a happy child.
These are but a few areas of concern, but by having support in them, our energies, as teachers, can be poured into the teaching of your child.
If your child is needing additional academic assistance, or you’d like to give them an academic edge, you may want to consider signing up to WorksheetCloud.