Get Involved at Your Child’s School

‘Back to school’ is here, for some Labor Day marks the beginning of the school year and for others (us) we’ve been in school for nearly three weeks now.

I love back-to-school time. I grew up with a teacher and my earliest memories of school are from before I was even old enough to go to school. The hot smell of laminating machines, purple fingers from copy papers, the smokey, dusty smell of chalk dust being beaten out of well used erasers and the sharp snick of staples going into bulletin boards celebrating reading and math with bright colors and words all make up the majority of my fond memories.

I’ve seen first-hand all the work that goes into setting up and tearing down a classroom, all the time and energy, sweat (usually in South Texas the air conditioners aren’t turned on until the students arrive) and love that goes into them. Each detail in a classroom has a purpose, whether it’s to inspire the imagination, soothe the mind, make the child smile or create the perfect atmosphere in a reading corner or art station. Each and every detail is an expression of the teacher’s joy for their chosen path in life.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I get to go into the school now as a parent and help. I read with the kids, plan the class parties, help the ladies in the workroom and watch the changes in the kids as their eager minds soak it all in.

There are so many ways to help your child’s teacher and school out, even if you can’t be there on a day to day basis:

If you can volunteer in the school, here are a few ideas:
• Assist with morning drop off/afternoon pick-up
• Help in the lunchroom, there are never enough hands to help with the kids
• Volunteer to aid the librarian, re-shelving books, story-time, etc
• Reading with the kids one-on-one

Make sure that you check with your school administrators as to what is allowed in your school, usually there is at least a background check and volunteer course that is required.

If you cannot be at the school:
• Send a note with your child, after the first week, letting the teacher know that you’re available for cutting flashcards at home, helping label things … any of the hundreds of tiny monotonous jobs that teachers usually end up doing at home themselves, or staying at school late into the evening.
• Most teachers spend money out of their own pocket for extra/much needed classroom supplies, when you do your back to school shopping, buy extra supplies and send them with a note to the teacher, or buy a gift card to your local craft store or big box store and send it with a thank you note to the teacher letting them know what it’s for.
• When you order books from the book fair or book order forms, ask your student to pick a couple of books for your teacher’s classroom or see what’s on the teacher’s wish list at the book fair.

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