As the time draws near, it’s the most wonderful time of the year is playing in the minds of most parents. (Mainly parents with kids above 1st grade). After a summer of fun and feral play, kids will be going back to school this week. I know parents are elated and some teachers are too. BUT, after a long summer (for some) there are some rules that I need to let parents and teachers know to ease the transition.
It takes 30 days to kill a habit
As an educator I love when parents think we can solve all the problems a child has. BUT, you, know your child. Think about this. How many times do you have to tell your kid something before it sinks in? How many timeouts do you dish out daily? How many incidents or accidents does your child have a week? So if you already devoted your life to changing this kid, what makes you think we can do it the first week of school. I love when a parent emails or calls during the 1st week of school. Not the important info like allergies, kids with house keys, or even questions about what they will need. NOPE, the ones I love are the questions about their behavior or something that is the teachers fault after a week or 2 of school. Some kids have been on vacation since May (when they mentally checked out). So after 3 to 4 months of mentally being gone, I’m supposed to reign that back in, in a week or 2, ok! LOL!
Parents give us at least a month to learn your child’s name with all the hyphens, apostrophes, and colons (T’Challa), and time to get to know their behaviors, their quirks, etc…
Teachers, be patient. Both the kids and the parents are baked (burnt out). The kid has been on overdrive, no schedule and is coming off of being feral for the last 3 months. Give the Mogli/Tarzan time to adjust. You already knew the first week was going to be quiet and weird.Its ok, its cool if they don’t warm up to you too soon.
Schedule, schedule, schedule
Parents listen, PUT THEM TO BED AT A DECENT HOUR! I love when kids say,”I was up all night looking at youtube videos”. Ist: it’s a free streaming service, 2nd: They are videos, meaning its not live, watch it any time, 3rd: All night, really, was that video that important, was it the all cure to all diseases? Parents you have to get them in bed. We can’t teach a sleeping child.
Teachers, our schedule can’t be so stiff that the kids from 5 years ago are like “Does (teacher’s name) still have math at 10:15 am”? And you respond “YUP”. No, look its ok to switch it up, but not to much.
We are not each other’s enemies
We are in this together. We are in it to make sure each child succeeds. We cannot do this without each other. I use to work at a school for behaviorally disturbed children where we had to restrain kids. The parents sign a form permitting us to do this.It was a last line of defense in case of any issue with a child. After 5 years there you started to smell an attack. It was my 6th year and while walking a kid to our time out room he swung at me. I caught his arm and had him on the ground. He was a husky 14 year old and he had about 50 pound and a foot on me. Well he told his mom what happened. She came to the school the next day. She demanded the principal include me in the meeting. Now we document everything and that was my job. After we showed her the paperwork her tuned changed. We had a good conversation after that. My point is I showed her that we gave her son so many opportunities and he just choose to be angry and try to hurt us. The story does have a happy ending. He was a 45 day placement. Even though he spent almost 3 months with us he managed to get it together and go back to public school.
My point is when the parent finally came in to talk to us and not at us, she realized our whole goal was to get him back in public school. We were only trying to help. We all got on the same page and it worked out for her son.
Don’t forget to acknowledge each other
Parents and teachers should always remember to congratulate each other. Imagine this, a teacher sees your child 7 hours and if they also coach a sport they could be with your child for up to 10 hours a day. There are also some parents who are so active in a child’s life it’s crazy (and I mean good crazy). I was working at an elementary school and I remember this mom showed up everyday to drop off her child’s lunch during his lunch time. I was so impressed with her.
We have to remember to let each other know we appreciate each other. Between the teachers and the parents, we are the village raising the child. Both of our jobs are important. Teachers drop the parents an email letting them know you thank them for giving you the opportunity to teach their child. I would say gift them but gifting 30 to 100 parents, kind hard on a teachers salary. Parents, same thing, send and email, you can drop a gift (LOL), its only 1 or 2 teachers (if there is an aide in the room). We should thank each other a lot more.
As a parent and an Aide, I get it. I want my son to be reading Shakespeare by 2nd grade (LOL). I have been in the education system long enough to know I cannot put that expectation on the teacher. We all have a job to do when it comes to raising a child. Let’s go into this school year with new attitudes and mindsets.
Conversations with students
Student: Mr. J, I spoke to my sister this morning. She’s in college.
Me: Cool, how is she?
Student: She was sleep, she said call back later
Me: College students, (I smile) they love to sleep in
Student: (Looking confused) Um, she should be sleep it was night time!
Me: Ohhh, is she out of state?
Student: Yea, North Carolina
Me: Wait, but you called her this morning?
Student: Yea, NC is in a different time zone Mr. J (looks at me like Im crazy and pans over to his class mates who are shaking their heads like im the dumb one)
(Our school location…. New Jersey)
Me: My bad, what was I thinking (I slowly sink into my dark abyss while “The Sound of Silence” plays in my head)