A teacher suggests ways to help your student
Many parents and guardians want to support their students in school, but may not always know what to do. School is not the same for students today; what students are responsible for has changed significantly over my career teaching in the CH-UH City School District.
Here are a few tips for parents and guardians to help the students in their care:
Organization: Students may require help staying organized. Sometimes they need help creating a system where they can find their work.
Help students by asking these questions: Do they know how to use a folder or notebook? Do they have a single place where completed assignments go? How do they remember what was assigned—are they using a planner or some other tracking tool? If it is clear they have no system for knowing where work is, where it goes when completed, what was assigned and when it is due, then perhaps you can help create a system.
Nothing is more frustrating for students and teachers than when a student does the work and then fails to bring it to school. Organization is a skill that transcends school—children need to find solutions that work for them and may need guidance.
Ask about school: Questions about school should be commonplace. Asking “How was school?” may not prompt as complete an answer as questions that cannot be answered with a single word. Instead, try asking “What was the most interesting thing you learned today?” or “What did you learn today in social studies?”
For students who need a little prodding, a question might be “Please show me your planner so I can see what homework was assigned.” Instead of asking “Did you finish your homework?” say “Please show me your completed homework and explain what you did.” This works especially well if things were taught differently when you were in school and you want to give your child an opportunity to teach you something.
Engaging your child about school throughout the week helps keep even a reluctant learner on his or her toes. Deep discussions about school help show children you are committed to and interested in their education. This complements the work teachers do in the school and shows students we are on the same team.
Navigation: Teachers value partnerships and communication with parents, even if it is only by e-mail, but teachers are not the only resources available. Getting to know how things work in a particular school requires a little time.
The PTA, agencies that work directly with our schools to help advocate for students, and school personnel are valuable resources that can help your student. We have school social workers, psychologists, nurses and counselors who regularly help students and families with various issues. These professionals—part of the teachers union—are becoming more and more essential for our students and families.
We know that many districts do not invest as much in these services as CH-UH, and we hope our district will be able to continue providing these resources.
Knowing where links are on the district and school websites is helpful for finding out what is happening and what opportunities are available. For example, parents and guardians can view students’ grades and follow their progress online through Infinite Campus. This program and a hundred other resources are available. Vow to try something new this school year.
Ari Klein is a lifelong community member, math teacher at Cleveland Heights High School, and president of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union.