Teachers have hopes and goals for creating good relationships with students and parents. To start off the new school year right, there are some basics that most teachers want to know about their students—their learning habits, likes and dislikes, and any circumstances at home that might affect their ability to learn.
To help you out, this is my list of things we school teachers want to know about your kids to help your children perform to their utmost.
1. Smart Teachers want to call their students the name that they are most comfortable with. If Gertrudis has endured tons of insults on account of her birth name, doesn’t she have the right to be called what she likes to hear: Gertie or Trudy?
2. Responsible Teachers want to know the best way to contact you. Does email work better for you? Is it okay to call you on your cell phone or can we leave a message on the home phone? Responsible teachers should provide students and parents with contact information, too.
3. Curious Teachers want to know what stimulates your child’s growing mind. What makes him happy? What infuriates him? What social causes does he feel strongly about? Regardless of a child’s grade level, teachers want to know about their students’ personal interests, at the beginning of the year and ultimately by December!
4. Good Teachers want to know how your child learns best. Is she a visual learner? Does she pick up languages well? Do numbers motivate her? Check out Howard Gardner’s theories on multiple intelligences.
Read Related: How to Prepare Your Child for the First Day of School
5. Observant Teachers want to know about the family situation. Does a child live with Mami and Papi? Or does he split his time between two homes because of a divorce? Do extended family members live there too? Some children emigrate from other countries and live with an aunt or uncle. Language barriers can prevent important school communication. Seek out staff members who speak Spanish, French, or the languages of the local community.
6. Organized Teachers collect important data for every student. The academic histories of their students help them teach in a manner that suits individual student needs. Regular education teachers receive individualized education plans (I.E.P.’s) for students with delayed skills or disabilities. But why not be proactive and send an email to your child’s teacher with more details?
7. Compassionate Teachers are concerned about the social and emotional wellbeing of their students. We notice when they are quieter than usual. And while students are entitled to a yucky days, loving teachers will notice if a student is becoming withdrawn. Be aware that we prefer to communicate privately with students in order to not embarrass them around their peers. But if we feel we cannot handle it, compassionate educators direct their students to the appropriate school staff members that can help.
8. Culturally-Sensitive Teachers create an academic environment that celebrates the individual backgrounds of their students. Be it a language that they speak or read, or by just celebrating their heritage. We want your children to be comfortable and have pride in their languages and cultural ancestry.
9. Tech-Savvy Teachers want their students to know why a social mover and shaker like Dr. Martin Luther King impacted American history. We know that learning from an old history textbook is downright nauseating. Tech-savvy teachers bring historical events to life. Take for example Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which just so happened to be written on the torn-up margins of an old newspaper! Check out The Library of Congress’ American Memory Collection.
10. Community-Minded Teachers want your child to know that school life should extend beyond the classroom. We want your child to consider sports or the drama club or anything else that interests your child. He should seek to develop relationships with other students through volunteer work: i.e. raising money for clean water in developing countries, or by getting involved with Relay for Life to raise cancer awareness.