Let’s be honest, most of us are somewhat traumatized by our tween and adolescent years. There were bad haircuts, poor fashion choices, and probably an eyebrow disaster or two along the way. Now throw in there the whole idea of trying to fit in while meeting classroom expectations… forget about it. It’s a nightmare that we’ve all survived, and definitely don’t want to see our own daughters repeat. Teachers are here to help. Teachers can be your biggest ally in helping your daughter avoid all of this.
I’m a teacher and a mom, and I want to share my tips with you. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen parents like you struggle. I wanted to reach out and say “I get it! Talk to me! Tell me what I can do for you!” but I didn’t want to overstep. Let me help you celebrate your daughter as she is, and succeed in the classroom beyond academics.
This doesn’t mean being the ultimate lawn mower parent, plowing your way through everything so you can make the path easy for your child. You will not be the mom that came to the very first meet and greet with a toothbrush in hand, throwing it at the teacher and yelling “Are you Junior’s teacher? Because he HAS to brush his teeth 3 times a day.” Yes, that’s a real story. You won’t be that kind of parent. Instead, you’ll use these tricks to work with your daughter’s teacher, as adults, for the best outcome for her.
Make the First Move
Remember, teachers are human too. No matter how much of a front they put up, they’re all here to help. So, when you first meet your daughter’s teacher, lead with confidence, not fear. This also sets a great example for your child. Out of all the teachers I know, exactly zero percent chose education as a career because they’d get rich. So just remember, they’re in it to see their students succeed, just as much as you want that for your child.
Whether it’s a face-to-face conference, an email introduction, or even a phone call, let the teacher know that you’re here as a partner in education. You know your daughter well, and you want to see her succeed. Make sure that teacher understands that you’re a supportive research, you’re not here to challenge their authority or tell them how to do their job.
Lend a Helping Hand
The best way to get inside the classroom and see your daughter in action is to volunteer. Not in a meddling “I’m always watching you” kind of way, but as a supportive helping hand. If you don’t have time to get into the classroom during the day, offer to help with something at home. Maybe that teacher needs ingredients for an upcoming cooking project in the classroom, or maybe she needs curtains for an extra sunny window. Whatever the case may be, use one of your many talents to get in there and help out.
Sure, it might seem like brown nosing, or buttering the teacher’s biscuits to get on her good side, and it is. But it’s also a great way to communicate with the teacher so you can get a feel for what your daughter is experiencing. Not to mention, if you have a child like that is challenging, it doesn’t hurt to give the teacher a little kindness.
Overshare… Within Reason
The best way to help your daughter’s teacher understand her as a person, not just another student in class, is to give her all the information he or she needs. When teachers as questions, be honest. And then some. You don’t have to deliver your daughter’s entire birth story but sharing as much relevant information as possible is really beneficial.
If your daughter likes sports, or nature, or maybe she’s particularly shy but loves music, these are all juicy tidbits to share with a teacher. In many cases, our nongirly girls are so afraid of not fitting in, they’re likely to not speak up in class or show their full range of knowledge. This might even lead to an instructor wrongfully thinking they’re lacking in a certain area.
However, if a teacher knows what your child is interested in, this can give them a bridge into conversation, or allow them to find some common ground with your daughter. With this information in their back pocket, the teacher can find alternative ways to assess your child in the right way.
These are just a few things you can do to get your foot in the door, and let the teacher know you’re here, and you care. Just knowing that you’re interested, and willing to put effort into helping your child succeed is huge. Just like all of us, when teachers feel comfortable, they’re able to put their best foot forward, too. And that’s exactly what we want, and need, for our non girly girls!