By Rachel Hoeing

We hope your children are ready for a terrific 2017 – 2018 school year!  Whether your child is in preschool or high school, we have a helpful post for you today. We ran this a few years ago, but had requests to run it again. Please take a read and share! 

Who better to give “back to school“ advice than teachers? I have interviewed teachers who work with children and teens of all ages. I also spoke to teachers of self-contained and special needs classrooms. I asked each of them, “If you could tell parents one thing, what would it be?” I hope your find their advice helpful and inspiring!  If you are a teacher yourself, please add your tips to the comment section at the end of this post.


– Talk and read to your children as much as possible. For example, when you are in the car, point out symbols and letters. Always make reading aloud to your children a priority.
– Guide them and be a role model, but also allow them to have their independence. Give them the confidence in knowing they can try things without help. They may not always succeed, but they learn that it is OK to try.

Early Elementary

– Read with your child every day and every opportunity you get. This will teach your children to love reading and show them the enjoyment of learning new things.
– ALWAYS be your child’s advocate because no one else will!
– I have told several parents this: “I will only believe about 50% of what your child tells me that goes on in your home if you will only believe about 50% of what your child tells you that goes on in the classroom”. (In other words, don’t always believe everything your child tells you that goes on at school !)
– Parents are their children’s BEST teachers! We as teachers are here to partner with you to help your child reach their full potential.

Upper Elementary

– Multiplication fact mastery is cri-ti-cal!
– Students who are placed on a sensible schedule by their parents are more successful in school. A set bedtime schedule, a good breakfast, and a packed bookbag the night before makes a great beginning for a school day.
– Do not allow a child to use any excuse for not bringing home assignments and necessary materials. Help them organize the bookbag and hold high expectations. Have expected consequences for low performance on homework.
– Expect good performance from your child on academic work. Help them experience joy in solid, good work.
– I always encourage families to model positive attitudes towards extending their learning. When your kids see you reading books, editing and revising your own emails or other types of writing, asking questions to other adults, researching the answers to questions online, problem solving out loud, adding and subtracting mileage or bills, they will realize deeper, real life purposes for learning. Enthusiasm is infectious!!
– The number one thing I wish to tell parents (which is hard for some to hear) is to allow their children to make errors–especially in older grades! How else can a child learn and grow developmentally if they aren’t allowed these learning experiences. If they already knew everything there is to know, then what is the role of the “teacher” supposed to be?

Middle School & High School

– We really want what is best for your kids. So if we call to let you know your child is having trouble at school, or is skipping class, we are not out to get them. We just want to help them get back on track. Please work with us and tell us how we can help!
– In most Triad counties, parents can access their children’s grades at any time and should make use of this! Please contact your school if you don’t know how. Having more information about how your child is doing in each class is invaluable, especially as school first gets started.
– In order to learn, children have to be allowed to make mistakes and be held accountable for them – with academics and discipline. When parents clean up messes for the child, the child learns a valuable lesson: mommy and daddy make things happen for me. For example, when a child fails a test because he didn’t study and mom negotiates a retest, the child learns there are do-overs in life. Imagine that lesson when the kid gets to college, lands his first job, and marries. Yikes!
– Academically, when trouble occurs, hire a tutor. Then the child can be accountable to the tutor (and not disappoint you), while you can encourage the child in other ways. It helps remove the pressure to please that all children feel, and keeps their self esteem in tact when the school road gets tough.
– Parents need to hold their children responsible for their own work and performance (successes and failures). It is great to be supportive of your kids, but not to the detriment of their never having to grow up…college and the real world are looming – it is time for them to take the reigns now, in an environment where there is the parental safety net when mistakes are made. I am a strong believer in checking up behind them, even without their knowledge, but not in doing for them…it is hard to write a good college recommendation for a student when the parent was the one to ask me for the rec. and send me the forms!
– Parents, I know you haven’t done this level of math in years, but you can still tell when a good effort has been made. Look over your child’s math homework every night!
– Model good manners for your teenager, including cell phone etiquette. By calling and texting your child while they are at school you are only enabling their cell phone addiction. (and when your child gets in trouble at school for using their cell phone DO NOT take their side or come and retrieve the phone disregarding the school’s rules!)