How do you approach your child’s teacher?

I asked Ems what I should write about today in my blog.  Her response: “ABC’s.”  Ems, that is not really the point of blogging.

My husband went to a parent teacher conference today with Sam’s teachers.  He was told that Sam “fake sleeps” in class to avoid work.  Sometimes she “fake sleeps” so good that she falls asleep for real.  When she goes back to do independent work, she draws stars all over her paper.

As a mom, I want to raise a hard working, independent child.  As a teacher, I expect Sam to do her work and most of all behave.  But I’ll be honest, sometimes after work I get home and I’m so exhausted I don’t check her homework and I just assume she does it.  I heard another, much older teacher say once, “I was so tired from teaching other people’s kids that I don’t teach my own.”  That’s honest right there. There is no balance here.  I carry around the guilt that maybe I need to make her read more minutes daily, maybe drill her on math facts… I mean there is always something else she can do.  But my husband reminded me that she’s a kid, and she also needs to play outside a lot.  As a working mom, finding balance can sometimes be hard.

I’m not speaking as a teacher here, I’m going to focus on how I have always dealt with Sam and her teachers and her time in school as a mom.  I will let you know how it’s worked for me.

The FIRST thing I do when I know who Sam’s teacher will be is to get on Facebook and look them up.  I want to know who they are, what they are like.. and most importantly how long they have been teaching.  I also lurk their school website.  I need to know about them.

Sam started school when she was 3, so she’s been in school for about 5 years.  It’s really important for me to establish a positive relationship with my child’s teachers and let them know I am on their side.  They are the boss of their classroom and the experts of their students, so I need to trust their decision making.  I always go to back to school nights to meet teachers.  If I can’t go, like this year, I called her teacher to introduce myself.  I want her teacher to know that I am here if she has a problem.  And her teachers have called me in the past when there was an issue, which was great because I was kept informed of what was going on with Sam.  In preschool, her teacher kept a daily log of communication, which I loved.  I was always able to write in it daily and I knew what Sam did daily (no idea how she had time to do it, but it was awesome!).  I also attend each parent teacher conference, and if I need to, I may take off work to meet with them.

I donate materials to the classroom, and chaperone trips.  I can’t do these often, but I do try.  I buy everything on the back to school list and even the stuff on the wish list.   I know teachers have to buy a lot of their own stuff and kids go through pencils fast!

Another thing I do its I ALWAYS buy Christmas gifts and teacher appreciation/end of the year gifts.  Usually they are personalized because I have a Cricut, so it makes it more meaningful.  They dealt with my child all year, they deserve a treat.  This year for Christmas I got Sam’s teacher fuzzy socks, a mug with her name and a face mask.  It’s not elaborate but I think it makes a difference.

One last thing I do is at the end of the year, I write a handwritten note or email to the teacher thanking them for all they have done for Sam and how I appreciate them.  I know by summer they are ready for a break, but I want them to know that they are appreciated.  Teaching is an exhausting job…

Ems is starting school in the fall too, so I will be keeping up the same habits I have been doing.  However with her, I feel like I may get a lot more phone calls from her teacher.  She promises me that she will be good though.

And I always believe it when a toddler promises me good behavior….

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