By Sharmon Carrington
Pride Guest Columnist
Now that children are heading back to school, it is important that parents be aware of how to prepare themselves and their children for the best school year ahead.
After having a son and a daughter in the school system for a total of twenty-two years, I felt it necessary to provide advice and guidance to parents who are currently dealing with school age children, as they navigate through the school system.
This advice is based on my personal experiences and my knowledge as a former Caribbean teacher, and I am positive that these tips would be beneficial to other parents.
- Find out who your child’s teacher is. This can be done on the first day of school, or in some cases sometime prior to the first day.
- Introduce yourself to the teacher immediately, either in person or via the telephone. The former way is highly recommended, as it provides an opportunity for the teacher to see exactly who you are and to acquire a sense of your level of commitment to your child’s education. Do not wait for the school’s appointed time for parent/teacher interviews.
- During your introductory meeting with your child’s teacher, be assertive and be sure to let him/her know that you are serious about your child’s education. Ask that you be contacted any time during the school year to discuss your child’s performance, as well as behaviour. Be sure to let your child know about your interaction with the teacher. This would send a message to your child that you are serious about his/her education and overall progress. Inform the teacher that you will be contacting him/her periodically to enquire of your child’s progress.
- Ask for a copy of the class curriculum. This would present an opportunity for you to know what your child would be taught and what would be the teacher’s expectations of him/her, as well as the expectations of the class.
- Enquire of the rules of the school, and Code of Conduct, so that you will be able to discuss these rules and Code with your child.
- Find out the names and contact information for (1) The School’s Trustee and (2) The Superintendent of Schools in your School District Board.
- Do not be too busy nor tired to review your child’s classwork daily or at least three (3) times each week. This would allow you to discuss any mistakes/corrections that your child might have made and to monitor his/her work. Remember that teachers make mistakes too as it is human to err, and they can easily and unintentionally make an error in marking. So, do not surrender your child’s education entirely to the teacher or the school system. Take responsibility.
Parents who follow these tips will surely help their children realize their short and long term successes, while helping themselves to keep engaged in the school life/community of their children.
In future articles I will address your child’s participation; disciplinary situations; high school age children; and community participation. Stay tuned.
Sharmon Carrington was a former certified school teacher in Guyana for six years. She previously worked at Health Canada as a Senior Advisor. She is now retired after 34 years of Federal public service, serving in several departments. She is married, has two adult children and was very involved in their education. Sharmon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.