With a new school year approaching quickly, your student might start to wonder what his or her new class will be like. Who will she sit by? What kind of desk will he have? As a parent, your first thought is likely about the lone adult in the classroom: your student’s new teacher. From the teaching style to the curriculum to the classroom rules, there are a plethora of things the teacher is in charge of that affect your student’s academic future.
Most of this will likely be discussed when you first meet your student's teacher, and things like a syllabus can answer many of your academic questions—but don’t end the conversation there! Here are three additional helpful questions you can ask your student's new teacher to set your family up for a more successful school year.
“What can I do to help at home?”
You know to make sure your student does his or her homework, but is there anything else you should be doing? An open-ended question like this may start a conversation about future projects (“As a matter of fact, we’re hoping to do a family reading challenge…”) or class themes (“This year, we’ll focus largely on personal responsibility…”) you’ll want to know. Additionally, this teacher may provide insight as to whether or not you should check your student's work, and to what level you should help.
“How would you like for parents to reach you if they have questions?”
You likely have your preferred form of communication; maybe you prefer talking on the phone, or perhaps you find emails to be more manageable. As a courtesy to your student’s new teacher, ask him or her what the preferred method of communication is for parent-teacher conversations. There may already be a system in place—e.g. parent emails are responded to in order and within 72 hours—that works for that class.
“How can I help you and your classroom?”
Why assume what your student’s teacher would appreciate when you can simply ask? Find out about fundraising, classroom helpers, and other volunteer opportunities. If you have the ability to donate your time, ask what type of assistance would be the most beneficial to him or her. If you’re swamped during school hours, see if there’s anything, such as sharing the classroom’s new computer fundraising link, that you can do to help the teacher during evening hours. Even just a little help can go a long way!
For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.