5 ways to support your child’s teacher
Want to improve your child’s education? You can make a big difference by finding creative ways to support his or her teacher. According to teacher Tangela Williams-Daniel, parental help doesn’t have to involve a tremendous amount of effort.
“Just 10 minutes of someone’s time can make a huge difference to a teacher,” says Williams-Daniel, who taught in elementary schools before becoming an instructor in the Master of Arts in Education program at University of Phoenix South Florida Campus. Because each teacher’s needs are different, it’s important to ask what the teacher wants the most. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Improve your child’s skills.
Helping to raise your child’s standardized test scores is one of the best ways to support a teacher. If your child scored low in a specific area, tell the teacher you want to help improve your child’s skills. The teacher will likely give you handouts to take home to address specific areas of learning.
“Talk to the teacher and find out which benchmarks [your child] needs to work on,” Williams-Daniel encourages.
Volunteer in the classroom.
With shrinking numbers of school staff on payroll, teachers always need more adults in classrooms to help with projects or to interact with small groups. “When you have a classroom with a lot of misbehavers in it, just having an extra adult in the classroom for a few minutes will help cut down on a lot of problems,” Williams-Daniel says, “because children want attention, and they are going to act out until they get it.”
Donate school supplies.
Ask your child’s teacher about specific classroom needs in terms of supplies, Williams-Daniel suggests. “Often, teachers have a wish list, which may be posted on the school website, but you’d be surprised how many parents don’t know about it.”
In lots of cases, you won't have to purchase the supplies yourself. “There are many stores, such as Walmart and Target, that often donate supplies if you supply a letter of need from your school’s parent-teacher association.”
Help out behind the scenes.
Teachers can always use help after hours and outside the classroom, making phone calls, laminating art projects or hanging up materials on classroom walls, Williams-Daniel explains. “We need parents for a lot of little things,” she says, “like making photocopies. That might seem very minor to you, but it means a lot to teachers.”
Put your expertise to work.
“Don’t wait until Career Day to come to your kid’s school and talk about what you do professionally,” Williams-Daniel suggests. “If you have a special skill, such as art or music, come to the classroom and share it.”
Someone with a background in engineering, for example, can go into the classroom and help explain a particular concept in math in a new way that helps a struggling child grasp it. “As teachers, we welcome those experiences,” she says. “We want to encourage that.”