A magnificent teacher and a stimulating classroom–that’s what all parents want for their child and what all students deserve.
Yet when you go to Back to School Night, how do you look for evidence of these things? It’s not as simple as the teacher smiles, is friendly, and the walls are decorated nicely. Here, I share several tips you can use for looking more deeply during that important gathering. They are things that matter to me as a parent, a teacher, and a principal.
First, listen well, write notes, and take the handouts home. These are the highlights and you’ll want to refer to them later. Ask questions, too. Sounds basic, but it’s a busy, crowded night and you have a lot to take in.
Second, find out how often your child will have science. Do you see a science center? Is it hands-on science? Science is no longer a frill, it’s a foundation. It’s where children learn to problem solve and think scientifically.
Finally, what is the teacher’s homework philosophy? If there are nightly assignments, how and how much should you help? Ideally, there should be no homework–no worksheets, no busy work, no drills. You and your child should read a substantial amount every single night.
Teachers carefully plan their classroom instruction. The more you understand it, the more you can help your child to succeed and thrive this year.