How long have you been a teacher?
Christy has been teaching first grade for the past 14 years and Tammy for the past 15. For the past 10 years, we have joined forces to teach first grade on a shared teaching contract. We began sharing our classroom as strangers, but have become amazing teaching partners and friends in the process.
What are three of your favorite books for children? (Please share what age they are best for.)
We love chidren's books for obvious reasons. It's hard to pick just 3, but here are our top picks ~
1. Tops and Bottoms, by Janet Stevens is a great story about hard work and perseverance for ages 5-8.
2. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein is a timeless classic that we adore sharing with kids of all ages. It is an amazing story about unconditional love, caring, and giving. We are never too old to learn how great it feels to give to others.
3. Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes is an endearing story about our names and what makes us special. It is perfect for demonstrating empathy for children ages 4-8 and we adore sharing it with our class at the beginning of the school year.
What can parents do to help when their child doesn't like school?
First, we always encourage parents to just listen to their child. As parents, we often want to give advice and help. It's our job! But, it is important we truly hear what is bothering our children about school before we offer our two cents. Validate your child's feelings by saying, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." or "Yeah, that sounds tough."
It is important to give your child an opportunity to talk about school each day. Rather than asking open ended questions such as, "What did you do today?" or "How was your day?", try prompting your child with, "Tell me something good that happened today." or "Tell me something that you would change about today.". Gather some insight on their perspective of peers and further develop their sense of empathy for others by saying, "Tell me something good that happened to someone else today." This sets your child up to trust and talk with you, and you just may get a few answers beyond, "Fine.", "Good." or "Terrible", "Bad".
Is it all of school or just particular times they are unhappy with? For example, we knew a student who was unhappy in "school", but came to discover they were particularly unhappy on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Why? Well, they were uncomfortable in typing class because they didn't feel confident with their typing skills. If as parents, we can pinpoint the source of discomfort for our children, we can make steps to help them work through it.
Above all else, communication with your child's teacher is as important as any parenting technique you try at home. We firmly believe the success of a child is dependent upon the team that surrounds them. Parents, Child, Teacher ~ Working together for the success of each child. Share what you are hearing at home and allow your child's teacher to share observations from class. Try to just listen...we know, it's hard. We've sat on the "other" side of the table too. :) But, most teachers have your child's best interest at heart. Work together as a team and include your child in discussions with the teacher when appropriate.
Your child will be in school for the long haul. Helping them work through issues as they arise will keep them on the road to success for a long time to come.