Back to School! Parents feel excited and scared at the same time. They are often glad to see their children engaging in productive educational activities again, rather than sitting around the house complaining about being bored. Yet, the new year holds challenges and an element of the unknown that may create problems for their children. Teachers are excited to begin a new year, meet new students, and try to improve their craft from the previous year. The summer was a welcome respite, but teachers are ready to reach a new batch of intelligent, creative, and sometimes frustrating students. Retailers are rather happy as everyone seems to be purchasing items for the classroom, dorm, etc. I want to take this opportunity to provide some tips as school begins.
- Trust your child’s teacher. I know it is tempting to feel that you are the expert in your child’s education, but teachers are specifically trained to meet the educational needs of your little ones. Unless the teacher gives you reason to doubt their ability, please allow them to do their job and attend parent teacher conferences with an open, communicative mind.
- If you can afford to, please consider donating supplies to your child’s classroom. There are children whose parents cannot afford supplies and this becomes quite embarrassing for children. If you donate items to the teacher, she or he can give them discreetly to the students that need them most so that they do not have to feel poorly about the cards life dealt them.
Elementary, Middle School, and High School Students:
- Learn how to be organized. This will make things so much easier for you.
- Have fun. Learning is fun and will help you have a better life in the future.
- Make friends, ignore enemies, and stand up for what you believe in.
- Thank your teacher. It will make your experience so much better.
- Go to class. All of them. They may suck from time to time, but you never know what you may learn if you miss a day.
- Take notes and ask questions. Own your education and learn as much as you can.
- Have fun, but do not go overboard with your weekend plans.
- Meet new people and try to interact with those that are different from you. Engage in conversations with international students and those of different cultural and racial backgrounds. Our lives are made more complete by learning from those who are most different from us.
- Embrace your time in college as a great opportunity. Not all people have access to the college or university experience and you have been blessed to learn from some of the best educators in the world.
I recently completed my PhD in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) at the University of Wyoming. I have published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and have a book chapter coming early next year. I aim to explore issues of privilege and equity of education, especially as they pertain to STEM education.