By Dr. Ralph Kerr
With the start of the school year comes another annual tradition: the open house. Though in the past this ritual took place later in the Fall to get to know the teachers and to showcase student work, today’s open houses are happening earlier in the school year.
Here are some suggestions on how parents can make the most of their interactions with teachers at an open house to ensure their students success.
Ask about the curriculum.
This information may be shared during the open house, but if not then ask about it. This is a time when parents can familiarize themselves with the latest update on changing state standards and how those changes will impact students in a particular grade.
Ask teachers about their backgrounds.
No need to get too personal, but it is perfectly fine to ask teachers how they decided to enter education, where they went to school, what certifications they have, and what kind of classroom experience they have.
Ask about the school’s and teacher’s philosophy and methods for discipline.
One area in which parents often clash with teachers and administrators is with the treatment of their children when there are perceived behavioral problems. It is important for teachers to know when parents expect to be contacted and that they will have support from home.
Ask teachers about their homework policies.
Different teachers and different schools may have surprising ideas about the value of homework at certain grade levels, sometimes leaving parents confused. Make sure you and your child understand what the expectations are.
Ask what you as a parent can do at home to facilitate your child’s success in the classroom.
Parents are considered children’s first educators, so there actually is a great deal that needs to be done before children enter school, such as knowing the alphabet and numbers, knowing their address and knowing how to tie their shoes.
Ask the teacher about their preferred method of communication and share your preferred method and times for communication.
Teachers and parents all have busy lives, but for the sake of the child, it’s important to be able to reach one another, sometimes quickly. Some people prefer texting to phone calls, still others may prefer emails. Better communication between parents and teachers may help limit any misunderstanding that can get in the way of doing what’s best for the child.
Pray for God’s protection on your child and for wisdom, understanding and patience for the teacher.
Teachers deal with a wide variety of children and parents during the school year. Praying for them will make a difference in their ability to work with all of these different needs, desires and communication styles.
Many of the ideas listed above first appeared in the Anderson Indiana Herald-Tribune in an article written by Rebecca R. Gibbs.