With the kids back in school, you may be looking for ways to stay involved with their daily activities. Helping out in the classroom is not only a great way to stay involved with your kids’ lives, it can also be a tremendous help to teachers.
Teaching is a tough job. Keeping track of multiple children, making sure they are all on task, and providing an environment that is conducive to learning and comfort takes a lot of patience and hard work. Before getting into ways you can help in the classroom, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
• Ask before you do
Ultimately it is the teacher’s classroom. Before getting permission from the school to help out, be sure your child’s teacher is open to such an arrangement. Forming a relationship with the teacher prior to suggesting a parent helper position is a great way to get to know the feel of the classroom, the teacher’s style, and show respect for her profession. Don’t assume anything; ask first to ensure that the school, the teacher, and your child are open to you helping out.
• Don’t hover
You are there to help, not to mother. At home you are a mom. At school, you are a helper. Don’t confuse these two roles. Showing favoritism to your child in a classroom setting can upset the balance of the classroom, annoy the teacher, single out your child (in a not so good way), and ultimately cause more harm than good.
• Communication is key
Be sure throughout your time as a parent helper, you are continuing to communicate with your child and your child’s teacher about your involvement. Make sure the arrangement is still comfortable and appropriate. If at any time you, your child, or the teacher become uncomfortable with the arrangement, perhaps it is time to reconsider. Communication also helps to ensure that your presence is as helpful as it can be.
Now for some ways to help out. Volunteering in the classroom is a great opportunity to show your support for your children and their school. If you want to be present in your child’s classroom consider inquiring about a parent helper position. You can also stay involved with the PTA or help with certain school functions including plays, picnics, and classroom celebrations. Story time is also the perfect way to help out for younger children. Volunteering as a coach for a sports team or helping with the drama club can ease the burden of school employees and help create the best experience possible for all students involved. Pick something you and your child are passionate about and try to find a way to incorporate it into your time at the school.
Forming parent groups and after school study groups is the perfect way to include all families and children in something that serves to benefit the school and the entire student body. The more parents you can involve the more people you will have helping to make sure your children are receiving the best education and having the best experience possible. Parent involvement is key with regards to student success.
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