Today is our last official day of summer, it is incredibly hard to believe that 77 days have come and gone and tomorrow we tackle another school year. As a teacher-mom I always wonder what will walk through that classroom door. I would love to chat with my students’ parents, grandparents, or caretakers over a cup of hot coffee to get the nitty gritty, but I know that is not possible. So my favorite thing to do is make phone calls home after the first day or two of the school year to find out what I can about my students. In addition, I always want families to know that I truly care about their child and can’t wait for what we have in store.
This year I send three children off to new adventures-a 5th grader, a 2nd grader, and a three year-old preschooler. I am already so thankful for my children’s teachers and all they will do to teach my kiddos this year. I know they will teach them, care about them, and do everything in their power to make each day the best school day possible.
So how do you get the info you want to learn about your students? What questions do you ask kids and families in order to learn as much as you can to make the school year the best for everyone? Do you give a parent interest inventory or parent questionnaire? Do you make phone calls? I would love to hear your “getting to know your students strategy.” Here is mine…I just ask, “What do you love about your child?” or “What is your favorite thing about your child?” Simple, but I promise the responses to these questions will make you see that kiddo in a whole new light!
Here is what I would offer the teacher that asked me that question about my three…
I LOVE Brennan’s enthusiasm for fun! Having fun makes him genuinely happy! Brennan is not very excited about school! Once he realizes how much fun fifth grade is and that he can trust his new teachers, life will be grand. This may take a few days, but he will come around. He is smart, but he would much rather be taking part in sports, riding his scooter, playing with his friends, and listening to music. All four at once would be ideal! Don’t let him be a minimalist, because he can do so much more than he cares to showcase, he just needs a prod now and then. He is a rule follower and will be listening carefully to EVERYTHING you say. He is a bit of an old soul and will be that boy laughing in the back of the room because he is the one who “got” that witty joke you just shared that went over everyone else’s head. If you have ever read the poem, “Love That Boy” by Walter Dean Myers, it sums my boy up perfectly.
I LOVE Lilah’s smile! She has a smile that lights up her whole face. She loves her friends and likes to do special jobs. Lilah can’t wait to be in school! She is a people pleaser and has a love for learning. She can be very sensitive and will cry! A hug or quick snuggle will make everything better. She LOVES art and could make books all day long. She often needs a bit of a nudge and some kind words of encouragement before she believes she can do anything! She has a loose tooth that may come out any day now. She will want to help you with any teacher task that needs completing. She will adore you a bit more each day and she will walk to school excited to have your smiling face greet her.
I LOVE Landon’s love for life! There is pure joy that oozes out of him when he sees something he wants to explore. Landon has been by my side since March 7, 2013. He is a busy boy who seems older than his three year-old body because he has been trying to keep up with his big brother and sister. He LOVES TRUCKS and anything that has to do with TRUCKS! If you can make trucks CRASH, that is even better. He loves to listen to books, color, and share with friends. He is going to love his time with you. I know the first few days are going to have some tears, so thanks in advance for the extra snuggles I know you will give to him. He doesn’t know it, but he is an expert at physical comedy and will have you giggling at his resemblance to Chris Farley. I just hope he strives for more than “living in a van down by the river.”
When you are considering how to best get to know your students, check in with those parents! I promise they will LOVE sharing those favorite things! Here is a FREEBIE inventory to share with parents…
Best wishes with your school year!