Help Your Student Be Successful
Tips From a Veteran Teacher
Here are some tips that parents can use to help their children be successful in school.
1. Make a homework schedule – A kid’s job is to work at learning. Doing homework is a key factor in their success. Start a routine in the early grades and stick to it. Have a place where homework is to be done daily (kitchen or dining table, desk or counter, but not bed or floor) and keep an eye on things. There should be no excuses for not completing assignments. Teachers are not unreasonable tyrants.
2. Support your child – Be involved in school. Go to open house, conferences, plays, sports and anything else. This doesn’t stop when they get to high school, in fact, that is the time to be even more involved. One thing that good students have in common is backing from their parent(s).
3. Support the teacher – Unbelievably, many parents defeat the whole educational process by undermining the teacher’s authority, respect, value and hard work. Another thing that all successful students have in common is a parent or two who stand behind the teacher.
4. Curb the outside activities – Remember, your child’s job is school. Karate, ballet, soccer, TV, video games, baseball, scouts, etc., are all fine in moderation. Don’t let your child get overwhelmed by too many activities.
5. No jobs –Don’t let your teenager use the car argument: “I need a job to pay for my car.” It’s a circular argument because why does he need the car? To get to the job. Remember, his job should be school. He will be paid in good grades, a good education and maybe a scholarship (and, by the way, there are many more scholarships for good students than for good athletes).
6. Use rewards and consequences – The carrot and the stick are both reasonable. There is nothing wrong with rewarding A’s and B’s with money or privileges and there is also nothing wrong with taking away privileges for unreasonably poor performance.
7. Keep the teachers informed – Teachers want all of their students to do well. If there are special circumstances (divorce, death, job loss, health problem, etc.) make a contact.
8. Don’t “cover” or make excuses for your child – How will he or she learn to be responsible if you never let them “face the music”?
9. Pay attention to what your child wears to school – Frankly, if it’s inappropriate for school, then it’s inappropriate. Period.
10. Go over school rules and policies early in the school year – My husband and I have over 65 years of teaching between the two of us and rules and problems have changed dramatically over the years. Gum chewing, spit wads and pencils in the ceiling are no longer a problem, but water bottles, cell phones, ipods and cleavage are.
11. Talk to your kids – One of the best places for a good talk is in the car where your child is a captive audience. Also, keep a calendar in your kitchen and stay up-to-date on school functions, when to expect progress reports and report cards, and which days your child has off.
12. Have a Family Night – or, better yet, go to church together every week. Kids who are taught right from wrong, who hold strong moral beliefs and who are involved with others of strong character stand out from the rest of the student body. Honest.