Tips on Sending Your Kids to High School
The High School Experience
I know what you are thinking... Jeannie, you don't have any kids! What are you doing writing about this subject? You are so right! I don't have kids, and I am cool with that. However, recently I had the adventure of working as a substitute in the office of a high school. I learned a lot about high school kids and saw some patterns playing out each day. If you are a parent, let me give you some tips on sending your high school kids to school each day from the viewpoint of an office worker.
There are probably some activities you are doing that are not that helpful for your child's success. I am sure you have the best intentions, but let me explain how your actions are impacting your child, other kids, and the staff at the high school. The following is a list of things to keep in mind each morning to make the entire day run smoother.
1. Look at your kid before he or she leaves your house.
I know this sounds basic, but I subbed at a school in an area with a lot of parents that worked at factories. This means many parents were busy doing the night shift and just assuming their kids were doing the right thing in the morning while they slept. Was this the correct assumption? In some cases, yes, the kids were perfectly fine. In other cases, not so much.
It is important to know what your children are wearing before you send them off to school for two main reasons:
A) If the unthinkable happens and your child is missing, the police need to know what he or she is wearing. Don't think that just because your kid is 17 years old, he or she doesn't need that kind of attention. Anything can happen when your child is going to or from school. It is better to be safe than sorry.
In the short time I worked at the school, we had a couple of missing children. Nothing terrible had happened to the kids, but it was important to have as much information as possible for the investigations.
B) You need to make sure your children are following the dress code. On the first day of school, your children will come home with handbooks with the dress code listed in it. Make yourself familiar with it and check your child's fashion choices each morning.
This might sound like a nuisance, but it is way more of a nuisance having to come to school with a change of clothes for your kid. Trust me when I say, this happens A LOT! Sometimes there are even repeat offenders that try more than once a week to get away with a scandalous (or not so appropriate) look. If you make sure your child is following the dress code each day, it saves everyone a lot of time.
2. Make sure your child remembers everything he or she needs.
We are all only human and we all forget things from time to time. Everyone realizes this and it is no big deal. However, there are kids that forget important items at home every single day. This means the same parents come into the office each day with a lunch, gym uniform, band instrument, or some other crucial item for a student. The office staff then has to stash this item away until the child comes for it.
This seems simple enough except the child often does not know his or her stuff is in the office. This means someone has to call the classroom or go to the classroom where the child is located. None of this is a big deal except when it happens all the time. Teachers are already having a hard enough time trying to teach all the requirements and stay on schedule. When they are frequently interrupted because Suzie forgot her world history homework again, it sets every child behind, not just your child. Imagine an entire school full of kids forgetting items on a regular basis, classes constantly being interrupted, and consider how time consuming that can be for everyone.
Next time, before you send you kid to school, make sure he or she has everything she needs. If not, maybe it is time for your child accept responsibility for his or her actions. After receiving a penalty or two for being forgetful, that memory might start to kick in after all.
3. Try emailing teachers instead of calling them.
One of the most amusing situations I had each day working at a high school were the phone calls. I can't tell you how many times parents call and demand to speak to a teacher that very moment. I would then gently explain how the teacher was actually teaching at that time. This seemed to really throw off some parents, which confused me considering their children are at school at that time, so therefore, so are their teachers. I understand emergencies come up, but that is when we can call a child out of class; we are not disrupting a whole class because Jimmy's Mom has a question about her son's calculus homework.
Keep in mind, just about every school assigns email addresses to all teachers. It is an easy and efficient way to contact your child's teacher. This way, you can word your message exactly how you would like and the teacher can answer when he or she has the time to give your question the attention it deserves. If you don't know the teacher's email address, that is cool. Give the office staff a call and we are happy to tell you. We are also happy to take a message, too. We are just not going to be able to interrupt a class for you.
4. Review school rules with your children.
As I said before, it is a good idea to go through your child's handbook yourself. You should be as familiar with the rules as your child is going to be... maybe more so. Most specifically, I noticed one of the biggest problems with high school kids is their lack of being able to part with their beloved cell phones.
If your child is obsessed with his or her cell phone (and you know if that applies to your kid), it might be best to take the cell phone away each morning. Your child is going to be lured to the dark side if that cell phone is easy to access while he or she should be paying attention in class. If a teacher catches a child using the cell phone during class, it is taken away. It is as simple as that. In most situations, the parent has to come retrieve it. It is much easier just to take it away from your child before it becomes an issue.
I do understand plenty of kids have self-control or are not even that concerned about their cell phones, so I see no reason to take the phones away from them. Just warn them about not using them in school. I also understand that plenty of kids need to call parents after school or have jobs that may contact them about their shift that night. In those cases, I also completely understand allowing the child to keep the cell phone with them. Other than that, they probably don't need the phone until they get home from school. If they must use a phone, they can ask to use the office phone.
5. If possible, schedule appointments after school lets out.
I understand many appointments must be made during school hours. However, I know many offices are open until at least 5 each day. If your child is getting out of school at 2 PM, please consider scheduling the appointment for sometime between 3 to 5 PM. If you are unable to do this, please drop by the school a little early when picking up your child for the appointment.
I recommend this because sometimes a school office is swarming with parents trying to pick up students at the exact same time. For each child, the office staff must first notify the child, then check the parent's ID, check the student's record to make sure the ID matches the name of a legal guardian, and then a pass must be issued. Obviously, the entire process takes some time.
If you are in a rush, standing in a long line of parents while the staff scurries around trying to help everyone is not a good way to spend your time. It is frustrating for everyone. If possible, arrive early so you have some time to wait. However, the even better solution is to schedule later appointments.
So many parents come to pick up kids from 1:30 to 2 in the afternoon. It actually takes less time to simply wait until the bell rings at 2 and pick up your child as he or she walks out the door. The process of picking up a kid just a short time before the bell rings is often time consuming. Do yourself a favor and pick your child up as school lets out.
A kid that is not called to the office is a happy kid.
I hope all of these tips keep your children from being called to the office all the time. Trust me when I tell you there are kids that are frequent visitors of the front office. Don't let your kid be one of those kids. Your child is going to high school to learn, socialize, and eventually become an adult. Doing a little extra each morning to make the entire day run smoother is better for everyone in the long run.
Copyright ©2014 Jeannieinabottle
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