Sunday, July 7, 2013

School Preparation: What To Ask Your Child's Teacher At the Start of the Year

Every year on the first day of school or in the days immediately leading up to classes resuming, you’ll be given the opportunity to meet your child’s new teacher so you can address any questions or concerns you have and get to know her a bit before classes begin. In the hustle and bustle of preparing for a new school year, however, it’s easy to lose track of important questions that you forget to ask when the opportunity arises. These are ten of the questions that you should always ask your child’s new teacher at the beginning of the school year.
  • What Skills and Subjects Will Be Covered Under Your Curriculum? – While the state or local school board will determine the bulk of your child’s curriculum for the year, the teacher will still know what’s going to be covered and will be able to give you a running start in preparing for the subjects ahead.
  • How Much Time Do You Expect Students to Spend on Homework? – Some teachers take a strict stance on homework, expecting kids to complete a relatively high amount each night. Others are more lenient and progressive, eschewing large assignments in favor of more intensive classroom work. Asking this question at the beginning of the year will allow you to determine which camp your child’s new teacher falls into so that you can prepare accordingly.
  • What Standardized Tests Will My Child Be Expected to Take This Year? – Standardized tests are almost always mandated at the state level, and your child’s teacher will have little to no control over them. Still, she is your liaison between you and the school board, and as such is your most valuable source of information regarding testing schedules.
  • How Can I Supplement My Child’s Education at Home? – No matter how gifted and enthusiastic your child’s new teacher is, she will still need your help to foster a love of learning and to get your child excited about school. Asking her how you can supplement the lessons she’s teaching will equip you to do just that.
  • What Does Your Student Evaluation Process Entail? – How much of your child’s grade will be determined by test results, how much by homework and how much will be dependent on in-class work? Knowing this system will help you put more emphasis on crucial areas.
  • What Programs are Available For Students That Are Struggling? – While no parent wants to think about their child struggling to keep up, it is an unfortunate fact for many students. The important thing to know is what programs are available to help get him back on track, as well as what you can do to get him enrolled in them if necessary.
  • How Do You Prefer to Communicate With Parents? – Some teachers will communicate with their students’ parents through email or text message, while some send written letters home with students or prefer phone calls. You’ll need to know what the new teacher’s preferences are, as you will have to communicate throughout the school year.
  • Do You Have a Teacher’s Wish List? – Many teachers have lists of optional items for the use of the whole class, like hand sanitizer, tissues and extra supplies. These items certainly aren’t compulsory, but they can relieve her of the financial burden of covering supplies the school system won’t.
  • What is Your Volunteering Policy? – Some teachers, especially those overseeing younger children, have a very welcoming policy when it comes to parent volunteers. Others are less eager, and you’ll need to know which your new teacher is to ensure that you’re on the right side of that fence.
  • Do You Expect Any Field Trips This Year? – Field trips are exciting and educational experiences for kids, but they can be a bit expensive for the parents forced to fund them. Knowing about any planned trips in advance will allow you to start saving money early, so that the trip isn’t a source of financial hardship later.
Remember that this list is only a basic outline, and that you should feel free to ask any specific questions you have. A committed and enthusiastic teacher will not make you feel rushed or foolish for asking questions; after all, you’re a team with a shared goal of ensuring that your child thrives to the best of his ability during the school year.

Source:  Live In Nanny

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