You drop off Junior at the front door of school, anxious that the day will go well. All day, at work or home, you fret over the thousands of things that could go wrong today. And when ANYTHING that is less than perfect happens, you go into hyper-parent mode.
Head this off at the pass by letting the teacher know these six vital things ASAP.
Allergies or medical concerns
This is life or death information. Sure, there will be an information sheet that lists every single child’s medical alerts that is distributed to the whole faculty. But that doesn’t list specifically what happens to YOUR child. It will say: Smith, John. Adams, GR2. peanuts/tree nuts, epipen.
Yup, that is it.
If your child exhibits a particular set of symptoms, your teacher needs to know. In writing. If there is some sort of protocol before an EpiPen is given, he or she needs to know. They need to know safe foods or what to do in a diabetic emergency or how far exactly your child can see. Or even that your child really does need those glasses she claims are for “really far distances only.”
I can’t tell you how often this would have helped in event planning, or seating charts, or who to partner with whom.
Where did you come from? Was it just one district over or another part of the same state? Or was it the other side of the country?
This matters. Even with Common Core (I know, a buzzword that isn’t necessarily popular), states still teach things at different times. For example, in fourth grade students generally study their home state. And if you have never lived in California before, all that talk about Spanish Missions will be pretty confusing.
States and districts also teach topics in different orders. So someone who moves mid-year might cover fractions twice, but never actually touch on long division. All because one state teaches them in a different sequence than the next state or district.
Armed with the knowledge of where your child is coming from, a quality teacher will research that state’s standards of learning to determine what knowledge your child is probably coming in with.
We all know that having a deployed parent is incredibly stressful. Of course! Suddenly a two parent home is a single parent home; a child of a single parent home is now living with relatives. This is hard.
When students are stressed, behavior, mood, and academics can suffer. For teachers, it is helpful to be able to anticipate these potential changes and be on the lookout. If they are aware of a deployment, a good teacher will help to fill some of those gaps. Provide that shoulder to cry on, that person to turn to when things get tough, and someone who can help to provide solutions to problems. A great teacher will work with the whole family to problem solve issues and offer any advice.
This includes ALL academic records. It doesn’t have to be the actual hard copies. Honestly, a very nice synopsis is better. Just give the teacher a ballpark. Let them know if there is a history of math difficulties or if your child excels in reading or enjoys science. This knowledge allows a good teacher to tailor the academic year to better meet the needs of all of his/her students.
The records that NEED to be hard copy are any legal documents. This includes: custody agreements and education plans. This could also include DO NOT RELEASE lists. It’s important for a teacher to know who is allowed access to educational records and who can physically pick-up the child from school.
Education plans, like IEPs and 504 plans, are legal documents that MUST be adhered to in all ways. Often times a district will accept another district’s evaluations and plans, and then convene meetings to write their own plan. Each district has a slightly different IEP/504 plan form and protocol. But knowing that Susie Q. HAS a plan can help your teacher meet her needs from Day 1. Plans can include preferential seating, positive role models, reduced workload, or pull-out services. This is clutch on the first day!
Your Contact Info
Most teachers maintain a file of parent contacts throughout the year. The districts do collect this data from you, of course.
But it is logistically easier for teachers to maintain their own files. They need to know where to turn to get that cell number in a pinch. And in this day of email communication, sharing this is crucial. Almost all of the parent communication goes out via email.
Without providing your email to at least the teacher, and definitely the room parent/social activity coordinator, you will miss the email about the Valentine’s Day Party or even the class newsletter.
Your trust and support
Yes, this teacher might run things differently than last year’s teacher or from how YOU think it should be done. And that is ok: it’s her classroom and this is her profession. She has years of study, and annual intensive professional development and more school, under her belt.
If you do need to talk to the teacher, check out these tips: How to Not Piss Off Your Teacher.
If you are lost, check out my FREE MilKids resource for Back to School on TeachersPayTeachers!
Tell me: How do you communicate vital stats to your teachers on/before the First Day of School?