By Juliet Mitchell
School has been in session for over a month now, so I’m sure that teachers and students are in the flow of the 2018-2019 school year. In the next few weeks, schools will be hosting formal parent-teacher conferences. For many, this is a busy time for all — school staff, parents and students.
Hopefully, your child’s school welcomes parents every day. Oftentimes, however, parent-teacher conferences are the only times parents visit their child’s school. Either way, I strongly encourage parents to visit whenever you can.
This leads to my life etiquette subject for this column — parental etiquette when visiting their child’s school. I have heard some outlandish stories about parent behavior upon visiting. I know that schools need to do their part to make the parents’ visits a positive experience, but that’s another column for another day.
I reached out to parents, grandparents, and bonus parents asking them to answer the following question, “What is at least one tip that you believe would be helpful for parents to know when visiting their child’s school?” The responses could include things parents should or shouldn’t do to make the visit pleasant, positive and productive.
Well, whaddayaknow, my cup runneth over — I received much more than I hoped for. But since this column is limited on space, here are:
Ms. J’s Top Five Tips for Visiting Your Child’s School
- Proceed straight to the office to sign in and let them know you are visiting: In the wake of school violence, one of the major objectives is to provide a “safe” environment where teachers can teach and students can learn without the threat of harm. I have heard stories of parents coming to schools to “jump on a kid.” Sad, but true.
- Be prepared. Yes, it’s fine for parents to do a “drop-in” just to check on how things are going. However, if you want to learn about your child’s progress or have issues, concerns or suggestions, write them down so you leave satisfied that all your concerns were addressed.
- Keep the main thing the main thing — your child’s education and wellbeing. Ask how your child is doing and what you can do to help your child be successful in school. If your child is having difficulty in school, stop, look and listen. Your child’s education is the responsibility of the village and the village starts at home.
- Be a part of the team. Work on building a positive relationship with the school staff — all of them; that includes the bus monitor, the cafeteria attendant, and the janitor. The entire staff should be working together for the education of your child and every other child in the school.
- Volunteer. Becoming a classroom helper is a great way to stay informed at your child’s school. If such an opportunity exists, check with the school’s administration for the best ways to get involved. Also, if you’re chaperoning your child’s classroom, be mindful of becoming too preoccupied with your own child. Take care to spread out your attention to all the children in your care.
When it comes to your child’s education, be visible, engaged, cooperative, positive and willing — this isn’t just good etiquette, it will also go a long way in creating a healthy learning environment for your child to thrive in.
This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.