I have been asked to be the educational blogger for The Balancing Act. The Balancing Act is a show on the Lifetime network and they needed someone to write about some education for parents. Since I'm always up for something new, you will find me posting once a week on different topics that would concern parents, teachers and students. Sometimes I will focus on the great web based tools available for parents to use to support the work teachers do in the classroom and other times I will write about simple strategies teachers use to help student be successful that parents might not know about. I'm excited about the chance to bring a teacher's view of education to parents. I don't think the average teacher is heard and this is chance to speak. Not much is going to change from my end of the site. My posts will be doubled up here on TheNerdyTeacher and at my page on The Balancing Act. I think this officially fills my schedule, but I'm sure someone (Kelly, Shelly, Shannon, Kyle, Tim, etc...) will convince me to do something else awesome. :-) I hope I provide a good voice for teachers across the country. For all of my new readers, buckle up for a Nerdy ride.
Can You Hear Me Know?
“Hello world!” That’s how I started my very first blog post on a long forgotten blog years ago. I’m really excited to share my thoughts with everyone in The Balancing Act family and can’t wait to see what parents from around the country have to say on important educational issues. I hope to create an open dialogue with parents to discuss ways to increase student achievement. I’ll be answering your questions, sharing studying tips, showing you learning strategies and other great ways technology can be used to help students in school. Like all things, we need to start at the beginning. The teacher and parent relationship needs to be established to truly help students.
I am often asked by parents, “What can I do to help bring up my son’s grade?” It is such a great question, but only if it is asked at the right time. When I receive that question in mid-September, I can help the parent help the student and things tend to work out. When I receive that question three days before report cards are sent home, there’s not much I can do. Communication is the best way to save a student from falling too far behind in school.
Like any relationship, communication is key. As a parent, it’s important to start the school year asking teachers what they use for communication. Does the teacher have a class website? Do they respond quicker to email or phone calls? Do they use Twitter? Does the class have a blog that tracks assignments? Are grades posted on-line? These are important questions to ask a teacher early in the year. Sometimes “Back to School” night is a month into the school year and that might be too late for some students. Once a parent establishes contact with teachers, it is important to keep in regular contact and keep the teacher informed.
As a teacher, there have been too many times where I have tried to work with a struggling student and found out they were dealing with problems outside of school. One time, I found out a student was completely deaf in one ear 4 months into the school year and he sat in the back of the room! Keeping the teacher informed of life outside of school is very helpful. It allows teachers to keep an eye out for things or bad habits that could form. One parent emailed me to let me know their son was going through a bad break-up with a long-time girlfriend and he has been bummed out lately. I took that info and made sure to include him a little more in class conversation and pay extra attention to his behavior. Like all teens, it lasted for a week or so and he moved on. Keep the teacher informed and many problems can be prevented in the long run.
I’ve always said, “If my biggest problem is an over-involved parent, I’m doing ok as a teacher.” Don’t be afraid to make contact with teachers and create a healthy relationship. Parents and teachers want what is best for kids and communication is a sure fire way to see that students are successful.