Our summer ends on a sweet note with National Ice Cream Sandwich Day on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and National Watermelon Day on Thursday, Aug. 3. But this week, as a community, we are welcoming our students and families back to a new school year. From Classroom Observer’s Corner, I would like to extend prayers, hope and joy for a good year for students and their families. Whether you send your child to school or homeschool your children, we as educators and families have a very important school year goal and that is to provide our children with a quality education.
My teaching career has been in the early childhood and elementary classroom, but at joint teacher workshops and meetings, I realize that even though we are teaching different ages and subjects, we are on the same page of wanting to share knowledge and life skills with our children. How can we meet this educational challenge? It is important for us to plan and to be prepared.
As teachers and parents, we have to pack our heart backpacks for the school year with spiritual, emotional and physical supplies. Starting out a new school year may have its ups and downs, but being called to teach children has so many wonderful rewards that count for eternity.
I have shared this before, but it is worth repeating. From an anonymous author, I have adopted this teacher acrostic to encourage myself and fellow teachers.
T- Teaching takes time
A- Attention paid to our children and students
H- Helping our children and students
E- Encouraging children and students
R- Reaching out to all students
S- Sometimes simply being there
As classroom teachers call each name on their roll on the first day of school, we connect a name to a student and we quickly acknowledge that we will need understanding as we instruct our students. The same is true with parents as they listen and spend time with their children in learning what is the best way to teach their children and encourage them to work toward their potential.
As teachers and parents, we want our children and students to know that we respect and value them. What a blessing it is for teachers and parents to share knowledge and light the lives of our students with the love of learning.
We desire our classrooms to be a place where students will learn, discover, create, question and grow. This is the heartfelt wish of parents as they guide and teach their children. As we share our classroom rules with our students at the beginning of the year, we reflect and use wisdom when we must discipline in promoting the learning process and when to show mercy. I loved what Mother Teresa shared with us in relating to children, “kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
We prepare according to the age, abilities and developmental needs of our students. Young children learn so much by process and older students focus on content learning but many subjects require both process and content learning.
As educators in our community schools, we desire to equip students with life skills and provide them with inspiration to learn. As children adjust to their new home away from home — the classroom — parents can help facilitate bonding and security for their children with their teachers. Think of it as a team effort to provide a wonderful learning experience for your child. Take time to talk to your child about their school day. Keep a positive focus as they talk to you about their friends, what they learn and what they do.
At the beginning of this school year, give your child a little token of encouragement to put in their backpacks or pockets. I love to see students cling to the note their parents may have left in their lunchboxes, notebooks or folders. A simple little note can positively encourage our children more than we could ever imagine.
Just as I did with readers in last week’s Classroom Observer’s article for sharing with the older generation, “Expressing Joy In the Middle of The Storm”, I want to use the same three E’s to encourage students and parents as we begin this new year.
1. Encourage – As parents and teachers, we need to let children talk and express themselves as the year begins. This depends on the age of the child. Something important for children is for their teachers and parents to make sure they are understood and heard. As teachers and parents, we have to be active listeners.
2. Endure – Your children may face difficult subjects this year. Encourage your child to endure the challenges of a difficult subject. We can all remember those teachers who encouraged us to make it through those tough subjects by breaking subjects into small steps of learning until we understood.
3. Embrace-To embrace means to hold. Embracing our children means embracing everything about them, their good points and their imperfections. In embracing children during the learning process, we have to look at the process and effort that they have put into trying to learn and accomplish an assignment.
From the heart of Classroom Observer, have a very good first week of school!