By Leslie Lindsay
You and your family may very well be making spring break plans and hearing the birds chirp again…but in the academic world, you may want to start thinking about next school year. I know, it seems “too early.” But the sooner you start thinking about a successful fall school experience, the better off it will actually be come September.
In fact, Kindergarten registration is this week for our family. Many preschools are already enrolling students for fall and yes…our elementary schools are beginning to put together class lists for the next academic year. Really. (Hey, they want summers off, too!).
So, what’s a parent to do?!
- Start thinking about what you want for your child(ren) next school year. Do you want them in full-day kindergarten (if that is an option for you), do you want a.m. or p.m. kindergarten (assuming you have a choice), what do you want out of a preschool? And, quite possibly the most important–how do you invision your school-ager’s academic year unfolding?
- If your child is in elementary school now, start thining about what their current teacher is like. What do you like/appreciate about this teacher? Is she good at school–>home communication? Does she explain things in a way that kids “get it?” Does he make learning fun? Does your child seem happy in class? Is your child making progress? Is your teacher patient? Does she allow for creativity?
- Think about what you hope to see next year. Would you like for your child’s (current) teacher to have more experience managing classroom behavior? Would you prefer a teacher who has been in the district for more years? Do you think your child’s personality “clicked” with this teacher (why/why not?), would you prefer for this teacher to have more experience in math/reading/writing (whatever your student struggles with), how would you like to see your child blossom next school year? Make a list.
- Connect with your current teacher now. See if she/he has any ideas for a “good” teacher for your child next school year. Each grade level should be familiar with the teachers immediately below and above what they are currently teaching. Your child’s classroom teacher may very well know exactly which teacher would mesh best with your little scholar. That’s Great1
- (If not), ask if you may give your current teacher a list of criteria/qualifications you are looking for in the next grade level. Most teachers will be happy to oblige. She will likely review the list and pass on to the school principal, who is the person making most of these administrative decisions. However, you may want to avoid listing specific teachers by name such as “I really want Joey to have Mrs. Smith. Or, “Over my dead body will Sally be in Mr. Ratburn’s class.” Like everything in life, the more diplomatic you are, the better chances you have at getting what you want.
- Then, sit back and let the teachers/school administrators do what they do best: educate our children.