School may be back in session, but it’s not necessarily back to normal. With shifting classroom structures and learning interruptions due to the pandemic still very much a possibility, it’s more important than ever that parents and teachers work together to ensure the child’s continued academic and social growth and development. Like any successful relationship, working together starts with open and frequent communication. Here are 5 questions to start the conversation and build a rapport with your child’s teacher this school year.
Where can I access information about my child’s assignments?
It’s so important for parents to have a sense of what their child is studying and what is expected of them in terms of participation and assignments. Simply staying informed and checking in with your child each day on areas where they might need help can make a world of difference when it comes to whether or not a student falls behind. Ask your child’s teacher how assignments will be communicated each day, or request a copy of the syllabus to stick on the fridge at home.
My child learns best through X, Y, or Z. How can we work together to best support them?
There’s never been a successful one-size-fits-all approach to learning – we know that kids learn in all kinds of ways. Parents know their kids best – what works for them, and what may not work for them. Simply sharing that information with your child’s teacher can help them to effectively communicate with, connect to, and teach your child.
I feel like my child has fallen behind. What resources are available if my child needs extra help?
This is something that so many parents are struggling with right now. A recent study found that school interruptions due to the pandemic will cause children K-12 to fall 5 months behind in Math and 4 months behind in Reading by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. If your child has already fallen behind, it’s important to address the issue now, before the gap grows any larger. Ask your child’s teacher what resources might be available if your child needs extra help. Perhaps they can come into school (or log on) early for individualized help, or maybe there are some extra problem sets your child could do to become more familiar with the math problems. Taking the time to help your child catch up now can make a big difference in the long run.
If resources aren’t available at your child’s school, there are other options to explore, including one-to-one sessions with a local tutoring company.Individualized tutoring has been shown to help students not only get back on track in their learning, but many even get ahead. In fact, a recent survey of 300 parents found that 59% of parents whose children participated in individualized tutoring over the past year said they performed better than they had in the year before the onset of the pandemic. Of those parents, 80% credited individualized tutoring as the driving force behind their child’s improvement.
My child has really struggled emotionally/socially over the past year and a half. How can we work together to support them and help them flourish?
Children of every age have gone through a lot of changes over the past two years, and many parents have seen their child struggle emotionally or, in some cases, fallen behind in their social development. If you’ve noticed something like this in your child, be open with your child’s teacher about it. That way, they’re able to better keep an eye on it and to take those struggles into account in their daily interactions.
For some kids, helping them to gain the skills and confidence that they need to succeed in school means creating more opportunities and spaces for them to learn on an individualized basis. In a remote or hybrid learning environment, it can be difficult for educators to identify and address when a student needs extra help, and kids are often ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. By creating more opportunities for them to learn one-on-one (whether that’s a private tutoring session or sitting down with them each night to work on homework together), you’re helping to build up your child not just academically, but socially as well.
How can I support you during this time?
Teachers are such an important part of the lives of our children – every single one of us can think back to a teacher who inspired or shaped us in some way. Like all of us over the past year and a half, teachers have been faced with challenges that make it difficult to do their jobs in the way that they’d want to. Take some time to check in with your child’s teacher to see how they’re doing, and ask how you can be helpful to the class. Maybe it’s something as simple as adding some classroom supplies to your next Amazon Prime order or helping out in the drop-off line. Even though we’re all stretched a bit thin, a little bit of generosity can go a long way in building a great relationship with your child’s teacher.
Guest post submitted by: Anne Huntington Sharma