Back to school time is an important time of year, but at some point it became a huge marketing campaign. We've moved away from preparing kids to transition into the next year of school to an opportunity to spend hundreds on new clothes, backpacks, and gifts for the teacher.
I used to be a teacher and I saw just how much pressure parents were under this time of year.
So I'm not here to complain about it. I'm here to help you develop great relationships with your kids teachers so that your little ones can thrive in school.
These are things that I saw again and again in my time teaching that I wish parents knew to avoid. So let's look at three things I saw parents doing that are completely unnecessary at the beginning of the year.
Number one, putting stickers on everything. Personalized stickers with your child's name have gotten really popular. And they are cute, don't get me wrong, but I saw parents slapping these stickers on everything. Those stickers are not cheap and a lot of times they were being put on things that would not end up belonging to the child.
Save those stickers for backpacks, lunch boxes, things that you know are coming home at the end of the day. Oftentimes teachers, especially in the lower grades, treat school supplies as communal. There's a reason why you're being asked to send in two boxes of crayons, and that's because at some point Everyone's going to get a new set, but the teacher is not putting things on shelves and saying this is Susie's supplies These are Thomas's supplies.
She's throwing them into a box and that's where the crayons are being kept So putting your child's sticker on it when they might end up with a completely different set of crayons is not going to be helping the situation I always laughed when I saw these stickers being put on Clorox wipes tissues Soap, plastic bags, your kid is not getting their own personal box of tissues in the classroom.
They're just going to be thrown up on the shelf with the other tissues and they'll appear down sometime during cold and flu season.
What I recommend instead is maybe label the bag that everything came in, but don't label every individual item. Oh, and on that note, if you can, try to buy exactly what they ask for on the school supply list down to the brand name and the number in the package. I know that sometimes it can be a little bit difficult, but it helps because things are used communally if everybody gets the box of Crayola crayons and everybody gets the same brand of glue.
And that goes for the upgrades too. If they're asking you for a red folder, they do not want you to send in a Spider Man folder. That Spider Man folder is either going to be sent back home or tossed aside and end up not being used.
The teacher's asking for a red folder because a lot of times they will refer to that red folder over and over again. It is so much easier if everybody has exactly the same supplies in those lower grades.
Okay, number two, buying a big personal gift for the teacher. Now, I know a lot of the videos that I make are gift guides for teachers, but this is not the time of year. You might not have even met your child's teacher yet, so how can you get them a great gift if you are
It can also be a little nerve wracking for a teacher if you give a gift that's really generous and you haven't even met them yet.
They might think that you're the type of parent trying to bribe them or just, you know, get the extra eyes on their kid.
There will be other times this year to spoil them. There are plenty of holidays coming up. The end of the year is a great time to say thank you. So don't feel like you need to come in strong with a lot of things. If you do want to get them a personal gift, try to keep it under the ten dollar mark that starbucks gift card a little bonus to walmart It doesn't have to be anything big at this point
if you do have extra money to spend or you want to send some sort of a nice gesture, this is a great time of year to donate extra supplies or snacks to the class.
So keep an eye out. The teacher might communicate that they have some sort of a wish list, or they might email that there's specific needs. For example, my class always had snack time, but you know how it is There's always somebody that forgets their snack. Maybe there's a child that can't afford snack And so I always just kept extra snacks on hand No questions asked for the kiddos to pick from if they didn't have anything that day
the third thing that I want to talk about does not cost money, but I saw parents do a lot. And this was avoiding the teacher, assuming that they are too busy. Yes, teachers are too busy, but teachers are too busy the entire school year.
And this is the time of year that they are prepared to be busy. This is the time of year where they are spending extra time and extra energy getting to know parents. This is the time of year where they're getting the most questions from parents, and so they're actually in the best headspace to chat with you.
Compared to maybe later in the year where they're busy with state testing or, you know, they're out sick all the time because it's cold and flu season. They're expecting to get to know you better, to learn things about your family so that they can customize whatever it is that your child needs.
So get in there, build a relationship, share the thing, and ask about concerns. But whatever you do, if you have talked to the teacher about this during a busy time, let's say open house, when there's a lot of other parents in there, follow up with an email.
It's going to be really hard for the teacher to remember exactly who said what, because they might have 15 different parents come up and talk to them in a 45 minute period of time. So if what you said was really important, Just follow up with a quick email. Remind them who you are. It's also super helpful to tell parents your name and who your child is and just Always repeat that even in february when you see them just repeat who you are and who your child is I know it might feel a little bit funny but teachers have to remember so many faces if you can just Help their mind by recollecting who you are real quick You're going to do them a huge favor.