Friday, September 2, 2011

Helping teachers teach



You can improve your child’s education by supporting their teacher 

Now that my eldest child has started school, I am amazed at how many times I’ve heard parents complaining.
They mostly complain about homework, believing that it’s up to the teachers to make sure their kids understand literacy and numeracy. 
“After all,” they chide, “why else do we send them to school?”
This sort of attitude astounds me because our children are expected to learn a lot more than we ever did, and at a faster rate than before.
Chatting to the principal last week confirmed this as she used to be a high school English teacher.
She said there are several elements of the English syllabus that she used to teach to year 9 students but they are now part of the primary school curriculum.
With an average of 20 students in their care, and less than five hours a day to teach literacy, numeracy, physical education, studies of society and environment, music, science, art, languages other than English, technology and religious education, teachers need all the help they can get.
So I’ve got a list of ways to help support your child’s teacher, as well as supporting your child’s learning.

  1. Get to know your child’s teacher. Don’t just rely on parent/teacher interviews for feedback about your child, stay on the radar by talking to them on a regular basis and take the time to look at your child’s books to see how they are progressing.
  2. Attend school events. Show your involvement by going to as many events as you can including school assemblies, sports days, open days, awards nights and so on.
  3. Join the P&C Association. Meetings are usually only once a month, so you only have to attend 12 per year or less. The P&C makes important decisions about the school, such as what to spend money on, fundraising and tuckshop, and if you go to meetings then you can have a say in those decisions.
  4. Volunteer. If you are able, volunteer a few hours every week in your child’s classroom. Parents can assist with literacy and numeracy, and your child will love the fact that you are there and taking an interest. If you can’t go every week, you may prefer to volunteer at school dances, car washes, camps, excursions or fundraisers.
  5. Share your expertise. If you have a skill that you think may assist your child’s school, then don’t be shy. For example, if you have I.T. skills and the school needs a website, help them build it. If you can sing, but your school doesn’t have a choir, offer to co-ordinate one for the students.
  6. Make sure your child does their homework. Reading is an essential life skill, so encourage daily book time. Sit with them and help them when they need it.

If both parents are working full-time, I understand that it’s not always easy to support your child in their learning.
But every little bit counts, and neglecting their education for a sake of a few more dollars is not worth it.

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