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Acadiana Lifestyle

Teachers' Tips

08/09/2016 07:00AM ● Published by Robert Frey

By Amanda Jean Elliott

Each year our kids head back to school with fresh pencils and stuffed backpacks. But, they need far more than supplies to prepare. We check in with educators around Acadiana to get the best tips for getting your little learner ready for the first bell come August.
  

Caitlyn Richardson, Teacher
Ascension Episcopal School 

1.  Tips for parents preparing for back to school routines
and academics?

The best I can think is start them in a routine of going to bed early and waking up early a few days to a week before. Also, if they are up for it, start some workbooks as a refresher. Reading should never stop.  

2. In what ways can parents make it an easier transition for kids?

I think the parents’ attitudes are key to an easy transition. Positivity and encouragement about school goes a long way. Again, I would say, getting into a solid routine will help with transitions. 

3. What can parents do to help teachers as the school year begins?

Communication is at the top of my list for sure. It is important for the parents to give adequate information about their child in order for the teacher to know them better. Also if the parents have any specific expectations or concerns, let your child’s teacher know. Parents and teachers should be on the same team. We both want the child to succeed, so it’s so important to communicate. 

4. Study tips for parents.

First off, be sure the child is familiar with the material. As redundant as it may be to go over the information every night, I promise it won’t hurt. It not only prepares them for tests, but for the lessons as well.  I also think it’s important to allow them independence. It is important for students to learn self-discipline. 

5. What do you wish every parent knew?

Children have strengths and weakness and they are unique in their own way. Struggles will happen, but let it be a learning experience. Work together with the teacher for the child to find success in his very own way. 

6. Academically and socially, what are some of the most common issues teachers and students face? 

Some of the common issues students face are learning to become their own person. It is so easy to just follow what you always know, but learning academically and from their peers shapes who they become. 

7. Why do you love your job?

Teaching is the most rewarding job! Watching a student have their “ah-ha” moment is an amazing experience! It’s so incredible to watch them gain confidence and believe in themselves. 

8. What are you excited about for the new school year?

I am always most excited about meeting my new set of kiddos. My year is shaped around teaching, inspiring, challenging, encouraging and most importantly sharing the love of Jesus with these children. The time I spend with them is not taken for granted. They watch my every move and it is my job as their teacher to not just teach them the curriculum I’m given, but to also teach them life lessons. I look forward to truly making a positive difference in their lives.


Cherie Vincent, Teacher
St. Edward School

1. Tips for parents preparing for back to school routines and academics?

Since children have been on a summer schedule, it would be important to practice the school schedule a few days in advance. Practicing the school routine will make the first day of school go smoothly for your child.

2. In what ways can parents make it an easier transition for kids?

Talking to your child about school and practicing routines will make the transition easier for them.

3. What can parents do to help teachers as the school year begins?

I send home an information sheet for the parents to complete about their child. This helps me know the child’s strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

4. Study tips for parents.

Getting organized, designating a study area for your child and reading to and with your child. Also, have your child read to you.

5. What do you wish every parent knew?

I want every parent to know the love, care and concern I have for each child.


Karen Bonin, Principal
St. Edward School

1.  Tips for parents preparing for back to school routines and academics?

• Begin a bedtime and wakeup routine the week before school
starts. Make plans for evening routines: fully packing up book sacks and having them ready to go, getting uniforms ready (remember shoes, socks, belts, etc.), thinking ahead about what breakfast will be (this is a necessary meal), identifying where the car keys are, etc.

• Review uniform policies and purchase early to avoid the last minute panic of not being able to find items in the stores.  Remember how many people are looking for the same things as you are.

• If students are car riders, plan to leave your home about 10 minutes earlier than necessary for the first couple of weeks until car lines and traffic around the school have somewhat leveled off.

• Regarding academics, if students are younger, parents can review whatever is age-appropriate from the prior school year: math facts, spelling words, etc.  If students are older, complete any required summer reading.  Note that all children should be exposed to reading daily, whether being read to or reading independently.

2. In what ways can parents make it an easier transition for kids?

• First and foremost, stay positive! Discuss what the beginning of school might be like as most things, or even everything, could be new — new teachers, friends, classroom, even a new school. Parents can lead children through scenarios of what it may be like and how they might handle not being familiar with what is new. Assure them that before long, it will be routine and familiar.

• Change can be difficult.  If children are exhibiting anxiety, acknowledge any fears without feeding into them. Talk to children and offer firm support and encouragement. Share your own challenges from when you were a child.  I think it’s important for our children to know that a certain amount of fear is normal and ok, even expected, and we are there to help them through so they can move forward with confidence and independence.

3.  What can parents do to help teachers as the school year begins?

A strong parent and teacher understanding is critical. There are so many things parents and teachers can do to help one another as school begins and subsequently, throughout the year.  Parents can help teachers most by:

• Identifying the best way to communicate with the teacher if needed. Is it via email, phone message, a note in the homework folder or book sack?

• Understanding classroom and school policies and holding their children and themselves accountable.

• With the above concept, be an example. We want our children to respect and follow procedures, so we should do that as well. This will help the teacher and school immensely. Possible applications: ensuring your children arrive at school on time. If nametags are initially mandatory, use nametags. Additionally, parking in only parent-approved parking areas and following correct car line procedures are other examples.

• Be involved in your child’s school life (without being too intrusive).  Be generally aware of project deadlines and tests and have a basic understanding of what is being studied in various subjects.  Do your part as a parent by trying your best to sign papers on time, following submission deadlines for field trips and T-shirt orders, participate in some school activities, etc.  Your showing an interest is invaluable and will strengthen the parent and child relationship.  It will also indicate to your child that their schooling is a priority to you.

• Remember that as it is a stressful and extremely busy time for parents, it is also for teachers and school staff, as well.  We are all striving for the same goal of providing the best we can for our children so they may succeed.  Seeking to understand each others perspectives and realizing that we are all “on the same team” can go a long way towards a productive and smooth start.


Jill Bourque, Teacher
St. Edward School

1.  Tips for parents preparing for back to school routines and academics?

Re-establish a school schedule and routine a week or so before school starts • go to bed and wake up as if it were a school day. Set aside at least 15 minutes a night to read with your child and work on grade level skills.

2. In what ways can parents make it an easier transition for kids?

Make sure your child is prepared with what they need - school supplies, uniforms, an organized school bag, so they feel ready for the first day of school.

• Keep a positive attitude. Sometimes parents are nervous, but try to show excitement, especially on the first day when your child may be scared because they will pick up on your mood.

3. What can parents do to help teachers as the school year begins?

Attend back to school night to get to know the teacher’s expectations as well as important school routines. Support the teacher’s rules, routines and homework expectations. Make homework an after school a priority. Homework reinforces skills being taught and tested.

4. Study tips for parents.

It is important to be aware of when and what tests are being given each week so you can help your child study ahead of time. Break tasks into small chunks so studying is not so overwhelming and you aren’t waiting until the night before.

• For younger children a good way to study weekly spelling words and math facts is to call them out in the car. It’s a fun way to communicate and study while traveling.

5. What do you wish every parent knew?

I love, care and pray for your child just as I do my own. I’m not just their teacher, but also their “mom” throughout the school day. Sometimes I am called “mom” instead of Mrs. Jill and that always touches my heart. I celebrate happy times when they succeed at a task, wipe tears when they are sad, struggling, or hurt and help them do their best to make good choices and discipline when they don’t. I do my best to make them feel safe and loved every day.

6. Academically and socially, what are some of the most common issues 

teachers and students face? 

Common classroom issues in an early childhood classroom is dealing with behavioral issues and helping struggling students to succeed. Parental support, communication and consistency between home and school are needed to help all students adjust to classroom expectations and succeed academically.

7. Why do you love your job?

I love watching my first graders confidence grow as they learn new things. Teaching is not just my job it is who I am. I am constantly learning and looking for ways to grow and help my young students to succeed.

8. What are you excited about for the new school year?

I am excited for the new school year because it is a new beginning and a fresh start. I love getting my classroom ready for my new kiddos.


In Print, Life+Leisure, Today Caitlyn Richardson Cherie Vincent Karen Bonin Jill Bourque
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