It’s that time of year! You can feel the back to school buzz, whether you’ve been back for a few days, are preparing for that first day, or are soaking up those last few drops of summer.
I spent 6 years as an educator, primarily as a school social worker, and worked with hundreds of students over the years. As much as parents anxiously prepare for those first days of school, know that educators on the other side have many of those same feelings!
One part of my former job that I’m proudest of was finding ways to partner with parents. It wasn’t always easy for parents to trust me, and it wasn’t always easy for us to find ways to communicate, but I LOVED those moments when we could walk shoulder to shoulder for the good of my student, their babies.
As parents, you may want to help build a bridge to partner with your school community, but it can be hard to know where to start!
Over the upcoming blog entries called “From the Educators Desk”, we here at ETC will share some thoughts and ideas to support all types of students, but it will be especially helpful for those who have IEPs, 504s, are neurodiverse or need extra support at school as a result of experiencing stress or adversity.
First things first…
Most teachers are overwhelmed, overworked, and undervalued. I will shout this from the rooftops any time I get a chance: THANK YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER! As a parent, you are holding all of your child’s potential in your mind, and their teacher is holding that plus another 20-30-ish childrens’ at the same time! Thank them from the beginning of the year and continue that throughout the year, as they support so many families with so many different needs!
Next, a few ideas to build a bridge of connection and open up communication…
Be honest and upfront about your child’s challenges, especially those you’ve seen in other environments. Many parents are concerned about their child being over-labeled from the beginning, so they withhold important information about diagnosis, medication, academic struggles, etc. When parents are upfront and honest with educators, it opens up the chance to work collaboratively on behalf of the child, rather than being surprised and reactionary when challenges arise.
Be open to feedback. Listen to your school’s ideas and strategies that they bring to the table. After watching your child in a social and academic setting, they may have new insight and ideas.
That said, balance that out by being your child’s advocate! You are the expert of your family, and you must advocate for your child’s needs!
Here’s a few free downloadable resources to encourage positive communication with your child’s school!
Comment and let us know other ways you have found helpful in building the bridge of collaboration and communication with your child’s team!
Hope you have a wonderful connected year,
Becca McKay, LMSW, LSSW ; Program Manager ETC Institute