Back to School: Tips for Parents for a Successful School Year
By Ana Garcia
Click aqui para español- >Regreso a la escuela: Consejos para padres para un exitoso año escolar
The last school year was full of challenges due to a pandemic that changed our lives unexpectedly. Teachers had to strategize and be creative during this crisis by reinventing their way of teaching through virtual classes. Students spent half of the school year in virtual learning rather than in the classroom with friends. Parents had to change their routines in their professional and personal lives while providing their children with the additional support needed during the unprecedented times.
The 2021-2022 school year has started for most schools in our community. Teachers, students, and parents are excited to go back to how it used to be pre-pandemic.
If you are a parent who is concerned about your children going back to school this year, we have gathered some tips and suggestions from professionals in the educational field that could help alleviate those concerns.
Rebecca Green, a Licensed Professional Counselor with six years of experience and a National Certified Counselor, shares her “biggest tip” for parents and students, which is “to allow yourself some help.” Green explained that in the past two years, “there may have been learning loss, or you may have fallen behind because of virtual learning. Your teachers and counselors will be there to help you”.
With the Delta variant and Covid cases rising in our community, Green wants to remind parents that for people who cannot be vaccinated yet, or those who don’t want to, schools may still offer virtual classes for students who may get quarantined.
Most schools will likely require wearing a mask. Green advises that if the schools mandate wearing a mask, parents should find one that is comfortable for their child to wear and teach them how to wear them, adding that “there is no reason to get your child in trouble for not following school policy just because you disagree with it.”
In dealing with the fear of the virus and its effects, Green would like parents and students to remember “to allow yourself and others grace and forgiveness. We are all stressed and scared, and we all react to these feelings differently”.
The role of a teacher is to inspire, motivate, encourage, and educate. But what is fundamental in this process of teaching is to have effective communication. Cristina Garcia, a 9th-grade teacher entering her second year as an educator, highlights the importance of communication between parents and teachers and between parents and their children.
“As teachers, we reach out to the parents as often as we can. However, having the parents be actively communicative with both parties helps bridge the gap of misinformation and allows for the student and the teacher to grow.”
For a fresh start of a 2021-2022 school year, Garcia has some final suggestions for students, “don’t give up. If something becomes too difficult, keep pushing, and always have good communication with your teachers.”
Our children spend most of their time at school. It is essential parents make sure children have the best experience during the school year. Cathy Morse, a 3rd-grade teacher, wants parents to ask their children questions to explain their thought processes and encourage rich conversation. “It can be about anything. Have them explain what they are doing. Make sure to go deeper than simple questions and answers. It can be as easy as what their favorite video game is, or what their favorite thing to do is, and follow up why to keep the conversation going.”
Videogames have been, for many children, the most form of recreation and socialization during the pandemic. Morse stresses the importance of keeping our children from this specific technology, “Start weaning kids off technology. It is a shock for some students to get back to school after being on tech for hours at a time”. Morse highlights the importance of reading and recalling the skills learned in the previous year to get students’ brains in gear for the next school year. Morse reminds parents to “focus on the positives and celebrate the victories, no matter how small. As educators, we are here to help you!”
Educators are optimistic and are hoping for a better school year. No matter what obstacles and challenges life throw at parents, teachers, and students, our community is resilient, and by supporting each other, we can overcome any adversity and succeed together.
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