There is nothing that makes a teacher happier than really involved parents and I have to say that I feel really lucky to have parents that are not only involved, but also really supportive. I am confident to say that many teachers feel the same way. Having parents that are well informed about their child’s academics and day-to-day schooling is crucial in order to have a successful school year.
This week, I held my back-to-school night at the dual language school I work and I was pleased to see the majority of my parents attend. However, what I loved the most were the great questions they had for me. In this post, I want to address some of those questions and at the same time encourage you (parents/guardians) to ask those types of questions whether your child attends a dual immersion program or not. Here are some of those questions:
- What reading level should my child be in both languages at this point in the school year and where should he/she be at the end of the school year?
This is very important! My school uses reader’s workshop where each student reads a different book depending on their reading level (not the ‘one book fits all’ model), so parents are always wondering where their children should be. Regardless of your child attending a dual language program or not, as a parent you want to know his/her level. While there are many variables and things to consider, in average there is a ‘letter or Lexile Level’ for each grade (in other words a ‘benchmark’ that he/she should be at). What is fascinating is that children in dual language programs can be at two different levels. For example, a fourth grader may be a level Q in English, but a level S in Spanish. Therefore, ask your child’s teacher about this so that he/she can read books that are really accessible for him/her.
- What type of classroom management do you use in your classroom?
There are a plethora of classroom management approaches and this definitely varies from teacher to teacher. Yet, keep in mind that many schools have a certain ‘culture’ to how they handle behavior issues. I personally do not use/post behaviors on the walls or on a pocket chart (I don’t like shaming children). What I have found throughout the years is that children who were on red were ‘always on red.’ And if you are a parent that knows what I am talking about, is probably because your child was probably one of them…and you hated it. Again, this is my personal and humble approach and by no means I am criticizing other teachers. It is just that classroom management is something that goes hand in hand with a teacher’s personality and tolerance for certain behaviors. This is usually addressed on back to school night and at the beginning of the year on a letter sent home by teachers, but you want details and as a parent you should know how the ‘system’ works.
-What are some different ways to volunteer in the classroom?
I could not make it without parent volunteers. And let’s be honest, you would love to ‘spy’ on your child every once in a while and see how he/she interacts with other peers in the classroom (and yes…you want to spy on the teacher too). Most teachers would have a volunteer list/sign up. Just remember that there are many-many ways to volunteer and help and you don’t necessarily have to come to class (especially if you are a working parent and your job requires you to be at work during normal school hours). I rely on technology for this. I have a classroom website through Shutterfly and send text messages to parents who do not have access to the Internet using Remind 101 (and of course paper for those who request it).
Therefore, SpanglishBaby parents, I know this is a rather small example of great questions I got asked this week. Please make sure you ask them too and if you have any questions you may want to ask me, I would be glad to help. Have you had your back-to-school night? I would love to hear how it went.
Much love and happy questioning,
Photo by Woodleywonderworks