It’s fall, and school is back in full swing! By now, you’ve certainly adopted a routine. The beginning of the school year is always busy, especially with first-of-the-year activities plus sporting events and other school-related appointments. Certainly, as a parent, you know that it is at the beginning of the year that one must set goals and start off “on a good foot.”
Often, both parents and students wait until later in the year to begin being concerned about student grades, student attendance, or other issues that might negatively affect a student’s success in the classroom. The first step to making sure your student’s best year yet is this academic school year is making sure that issues in the classroom are addressed early in the school year.
First Things First — Get Acquainted
Likely you have already have met your child’s teacher. This is a great first step in establishing a relationship with the teacher. However, you must keep in mind that the teacher has 25 or 30 other parents with whom he or she must interact. Do not place all the responsibility of creating communication regarding your child’s progress — or lack thereof — on the teacher.
Even if your child has been in school for a month or more now, you can still begin a routine of regular communication with the teacher. Start with an email on a weekly basis. Often, busy teachers can reply quickly (sometimes between classes) using email. However, it is of the utmost importance that you ensure you have the proper email address. School districts often change the format of email addresses, so be sure to get the proper email from the teacher.
It never hurts to reach out to your child’s teacher via the telephone, but, remember teachers are very busy. He or she might not be able to spend more than a few minutes chatting with you about your child’s progress unless there is a serious issue that you might need to address. If you remember to be brief, you can use use this form of communication periodically.
Because school districts realize that teachers’ time is limited but also extremely valuable, they may offer additional methods of communications. These methods of communicating might be website pages or apps that parents can download in order to keep up with general classroom happenings.
Google Can Help You Communicate with the Teacher
Google Classroom is a feature of the world’s largest search platform that not only assists teachers in making and giving assignments to students, but also aids parents and teachers in communication.
Once a teacher sets up Google Classroom and puts out an assignment, the teacher can load parent email addresses into his or her contacts for a certain class. Parents then receive an email inquiring whether they would like to get updates from the teacher on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Google automatically sets up the contact details, and parents get updates as they prefer.
For instance, once a parent sets up the communication frequency, an email goes out on a daily basis that includes the assignments for the week, any missing assignments, grades for the week, and more. This can be personalized using the teachers’ and parents’ wishes on what information is delivered.
For students, particularly high school students, Google Classroom allows the teacher to provide feedback on assignments. Once the teacher has distributed assignments on Google Docs, and the students have returned the assignments, the teacher can then “share” feedback with the student. The teacher need not even worry about needing to take classroom time to pass out graded papers when using Google Docs!
Depending on what the teacher unlocks, parents can see a great deal of their child’s classwork and the feedback provided by the teacher. Students can also opt to get reminders about quizzes, tests, or other assignments.
Other Apps to Assist Parents and Teachers Communicate
Google Classroom can be paired with Classcraft, which features the ability to complete assignment quests. Parents can also view any activity in this app. Quizizz is another teacher-driven app in which teachers can upload assessments for students to complete, then parents can view their progress in Google Classroom. These are just a few apps that can be utilized for this purpose.
Some Old-Fashioned Advice
There are some things that you as a parent can do at home in order to promote the best school year yet. If you are wondering “how can I help my child succeed in school,” then some traditional rules apply.
First, establish a weekly routine that is conducive to completing homework and allowing for plenty of rest for your child. Depending upon your own schedule, you might not be able to help your student to complete his or her homework just as soon as they arrive home from school. If this is the case, then have a snack ready for your child immediately when he or she arrives home.
It might also be a good idea to allow your child to play outdoors or just have some free time during which the child is not required to do anything but enjoy himself or herself. That way, when it is time to do homework, the child feels a little more refreshed and able to focus.
Set aside a time for homework during which there are no distractions such as television or electronic devices. Your child will have a good school year if you are able to provide this environment and you are available to help him or her with assignments.
Although it is difficult after a summer during which your child might have been allowed to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, you should and must establish a bedtime routine:
- Once homework is done, prepare for bath time and dinner.
- Limit TV or device time once the bath is completed.
- Ensure your child is in bed — without a device or the television going — so that he or she can truly go to sleep.
- Make this a consistent part of the routine, even on weekends.
You also want to create a morning routine that is predictable, just like bedtime:
- Get kids up at the same time, and, although they might protest, insist on some kind of breakfast, even it’s a cup of fruit!
- On weekends, children should not be allowed to sleep for hours past their normal weekday routine. This may require some sacrifice on your part, but it will help to make weekdays better!
Wrapping It All Up
So, as you can see, it’s fairly easy to help make this the best school year yet for your child by following a few bits of advice:
- Communicate often with your child’s teachers.
- Make sure you have the correct email addresses and phone numbers so that communication is quick and easy.
- If a problem arises, address it immediately.
- Establish routines so that children get proper rest and have time to complete homework with your help, if necessary.
These are all key ingredients to a good school year, and your child’s success in school!