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Parents, Listen to Your Teachers

Many parents spend more time criticizing their kids’ teachers than they spend supporting them. I’ve had kids in preschool, elementary school, Jr. High, and now my oldest is in high school. I have never been disappointed when my children’s teachers are supported and empowered to do their best.

1, 2, 3, eyes on me.

One way to do that is to listen to them.

Hocus Pocus, time to focus.

The Washington Post surveyed teachers and came up with advice for parents to help their kids be better students. So pay attention to these 10 tips for parents from teachers below.

This will be on the test.

1. Let your child see you making mistakes.

I’d like my kids to think I’m practically perfect in every way, but there’s just no chance of that happening because I’m not. Glossing over a mistake or continuing on in bullheadedness does your kids a disservice. They will make mistakes and they need to see there is a mode of recourse when they do. It’s not always being right that makes you a parent, it’s always being an example. Messing up gracefully is a life lesson best learned early. Swallow your pride, and always write in pencil.

2. Use e-mail to keep in touch.

Such a simple tip from teachers! Let’s not deal with appointments and meeting in person if we don’t have to. E-mail: It’s the wave of the future and the future is now. Also, teachers like to hear good things along with your complaints. So let them know when your kids share what they’ve learned at school that day–it’s a compliment to them. It’s not like teachers make big bucks so a few words of appreciation from you might be the only bonus they get.

3. Don’t tell your child you weren’t good at math.

Too late.

4. Get organized with a color-coded system.

I’ve learned the hard way that kids don’t just automatically understand organization. It’s not innate. Color coding their subjects is a great idea, especially when they transition from elementary to middle school. One year it’s all cubbies and bulletin boards and the next they’re on their own with a Trapper Keeper and a prayer. Teach them how to organize it all.

5. Check their homework, and then have them explain it to you.

They learn it better when they get a chance to explain it. This is absolutely something easy to enforce at home.

6. Don’t compare your child with others.

This doesn’t help anyone. Everyone is different. You know that.

7. Help your child make connections to literature.

This is my favorite thing in the world to do. I love reading and talking about stories with my kids. For me it’s one of the funnest parts of parenting. They need to contextualize and extrapolate or reading is wasted on them. I’d so much rather spend time on this than drill them on math facts. I’m so bad at math, you guys.

8. Middle school and high school are not the time to take a more hands-off approach.

You can say that again. Just when they get more responsible and you think your job is done, school gets harder and the stakes get higher. My son is taking AP European History this year. He is bright and accountable and I am proud of him, but AP European History is not that different from the report my 3rd grader did on ostriches last year which is to say: THEY BOTH INVOLVE A LOT OF NAGGING ON MY PART.

9. But don’t do everything for you child.

Helicopter parents, step away from the science project. It’s hard, I know–because your kids’ work reflects on you as a parent but you simply have to back off.

10. Ask about your child’s day.

Ask specific questions about what they learned. Be interested. It will get them to continue thinking about what they learned. One of the qualities I care most about in my kids is curiosity. I don’t know any way to teach this other than to be curious myself.

These are great tips from teachers. They have the hard part. I’m happy to help out at home augmenting and enriching my kids’ education as needed.

Heard any other good tips from your teachers?

More of my Babbles.

Read more from Kacy at Every Day I Write the Book.
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