A new school year is upon us!
I am so fortunate to send our children to an excellent public school in Colorado Springs. The community of teachers, administrators, and families is pretty awesome. I am thankful that my children enjoy going to school and love their teachers. But I realize this isn’t the case for everyone.
And, even though we have a great community, I’ll admit there are always some fears as we embark on a new school year. What teacher will my child have? Will the subjects be challenging for my child? What if my child is bullied by another student? Or, even worse, what if my child is the bully?
Over the years I have learned that becoming (and staying) involved is the key to calming those fears.
Volunteer at school!
This is probably the most obvious suggestion, but most of us don’t do enough of it. Time and resources are scarce for many teachers. Committing to come into the classroom and offering your help allows you to spend more time with your child, meet their classmates, and connect with their teacher.
Trust me, this can be so valuable! If there’s an issue or something you need to be aware of, you can have a face-to-face conversation. When your child receives a party invite, you’ll know who the other child is. Plus, your child will absolutely love having you in their class. My kids always greet me with a huge hug and don’t want me to leave at the end of my volunteer session.
As a working mom, I know it’s hard to work out a volunteering schedule, but even one day a month is helpful to the classroom. If you can’t commit to a schedule, teachers often need help setting up classroom parties or chaperoning field trips. Our school usually gives these dates well in advance, so parents can plan appropriately.
Involve the whole family
This past year, even grandma got involved! My retired mother has extra time on her hands and ended up in my daughter’s class on a weekly basis. Having this extension of our family in the school and participating only strengthened our tie to the school. Now, grandma and grandpa have a better idea of what my kids are learning. This translates into more engaging conversation between them and a stronger bond.
Teach a valuable skill
Last year, I was able to teach Junior Achievement in my son’s classroom. Many companies have programs that allow employees to take paid time to teach this type of curriculum within the community. You can pitch it to your boss as an amazing way to raise awareness about your business or career field! Businesses love to give back to the community—and added bonus!—you give back to your child’s school.
If you have evenings free, or a bit more time, look into the PTA or other school district committees. I’ve joined a financial oversight committee for our district. We meet monthly and I am getting an insider’s view of how financial decisions are being made. The administration loves having parents involved and, in my opinion, insight from school district families is critical.
So, as you are running around purchasing school supplies and calming your child’s back-to-school nerves, I encourage you to think about what you can contribute.