For many Georgians the school year has already started or is pretty close to beginning. Each new school year for your child is just as daunting as the last and every year I’m asked for advice by parents. Their questions range from, what should my child wear to the more academic questions such as which are the classes that my child should focus on to get them into a great college. For every parent out there wondering, I thought I’d break down my list into my five most important things that I wish every parent knew.

1.) I LOVE What I DO! This is perhaps my most important thing that I want you to know. If I did not love what I do, trust me, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’ve spent thousands of dollars perfecting my teaching skills. I have attended countless trainings (and taught several) just to learn new and inventive ways to reach your child. Sure, it gets tiring…what job doesn’t? But I see what I do as so much more than just a job. I, every day, get the opportunity to influence and enhance someone’s life. For some of these kids, I may be the only positive influence around. Why wouldn’t I take every opportunity to tell them AND show them just how important I think they are??

2.) Start Each Year as it is a CLEAN SLATE! Forget what happened last year. This is the chance for your child to reinvent themselves. Maybe they didn’t get along with the teacher last year or maybe they didn’t get great grades. Don’t bring that defeat and discouragement into a new environment. Leave it where it belongs, in the PAST! The same attitude goes for the opposite. Maybe your child had an amazing teacher that truly understood them. Give their new teacher the benefit of the doubt. Give them time to prove themselves without comparing every little detail of their teaching style to the last teacher.

3.) Get a good night sleep and eat a healthy breakfast! Not enough can be said about adequate sleep and eating a healthy breakfast. I understand how hard it is to make sure this happens on a daily basis. I have a seven year old who loves his sleep and a three year old who loves his meltdowns. It can be downright Olympic just to get them up, dressed and out the door on time every morning. But you truly want your child to be at their best and to get the best instruction they can EVERY day. One of the first lessons we learn as teachers is that in order to properly instruct our students, we must first meet their basic needs. I cannot tell you how many children I’ve had that literally cannot focus simply because they either haven’t had breakfast or they didn’t get enough sleep the night before. It’s frustrating for them and it’s frustrating for us.

4.)Follow the dress code. This one goes along with number three. There is a reason that administrators have initiated a dress code and no, it’s not to squash your child’s creativity. Follow the dress code when buying school outfits. Trust me, you don’t want to be forced to leave your job just to bring your child a change of clothes AND you don’t want your child to miss important instruction while they wait in the front office because they are wearing something inappropriate.

5.) We want to meet you AND we need your help! We can’t do what we do without some backup. I cannot stress how important reinforcement is! When I send something home with your child or if I call with a behavior issue, don’t blow me off. All this does for your child is to teach ignorance and apathy. I respect your child enough that I want to see them succeed in every situation. I expect the same respect. Also, be PRESENT! Your child wants to know how important they are to you. It’s so frustrating when I schedule a meeting with a parent and they don’t show and then they act surprised when their child fails a class or begins skipping school. Children are our real life mirrors. They tend to imitate what they see. If they see that they are important to you and that school is important to you, they’ll take it much more seriously and be so much more responsible.

Get this new school year off to a great start! I cannot wait to see what 2012-2013 has in store for us! BRING IT!