This is a long, long overdue post. I've been promising to answer all your I Wish I Could Ask a Teacher Questions for weeks now. So here they are, the questions you guys sent over and asked me to answer! If you have more questions…….please leave them in comments and I can add them to this post!
FAQs: Answering Your Burning Teacher Questions
My child mixes up letters, do they have dyslexia?
Probably not. Certain letters are VERY normal for children to “mix up” or reverse during the early stages of learning to read (for instance b and d). On average this is something children outgrow naturally around age 7. If your child is OLDER than that, and still struggles with reversing letters….then I would ask more questions. THIS is a great article on how writing develops…….it explains a bit about what stages all children will develop through as they are learning to write.
What is your honest opinion of the Common Core?
I may be in the minority here, but I really don't mind it. To me, most of the standards we address in the common core are the EXACT same standards we already addressed. And the reality is, as teachers…..our job is to meet our students where they are academically. Meaning, we address their learning needs and help them progress. I know we see a lot on the internet about “new math” but it's more a question of the strategies and techniques being used to teach…..not the common core standards themselves. I promise, we still do long division and word problems just the same as well did growing up. If you're curious about the common core standards, I really like THESE kid friendly common core standards. They're a great way to look at the behaviors a students is expected to perform versus focusing on the adult verbiage.
What should we do at home before Kindergarten?
This is one of my most frequently asked questions. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about it (check it out HERE). That post talks about 13 things you need to do, but my top one? READ with your child. Every day. Yup, everyday. Statistics show that children who have been read over 1,000 books by the first day of kindergarten perform significantly better in school. The easy way to insure this? A story at bedtime every night. At least. Ideally, one during the day and one at night.
Do you think we standarized test children too much?
In short, I have mixed feelings about this. In some ways, I think we do test children a LOT. But when tests are used appropriately, they're a very important part of driving instruction in a classroom. That data can be used to create small groups that meet each students' needs, to monitor how instruction is for each kid, and more. I do wish that some of those tests were as LONG as they are……and I feel for the most part, we could receive data from shorter standarized exams. But, I do see the point in them. Stay tuned, as all our kids start to approach standarized testing season……I'm planning to write a full blog post about how to keep those tests non-stressful for kids!
My kid HATES to do their homework…….is it too hard?
My first question is always…….is it too hard? Or is the routine of doing homework too hard? And the answer is different for each and every kid / family. My suggestion: take a look at your homework routine ( I wrote a lot about creating one HERE). Could it be causing negative feelings towards homework? Or is the homework just too long? If so, PLEASE communicate with your child's classroom teacher. They aren't aware of how long it takes each student to complete their homework unless it's communicated…..and it's important information to discuss!
I'm a working parent, but I really want to be more involved in my kids' class…..do you have suggestions?
Trust me, I get it (I'm a working parent too). And it's HARD. I can't always go on Lydia's field trips, and I'm not available during the day to bring snacks or volunteer. My biggest suggestion? Focus on what you CAN do. Can you contribute classroom materials? Can you volunteer to help in the morning before you head to work? I wrote a blog post that gives 7 simple ways you can contribute to your child's classroom as a working parent, be sure to check it out!
What do you think about the idea of arming teachers?
I know. You were waiting for this one, right? I can't speak for all teachers, but I can certainly speak for myself here. There is NO way I'm equipped to bring a weapon into a classroom. And honestly? The things that make me a great teacher? My ability to empathize, the emotionally identify with troubled students, to react slowly and calmly? Would make me a TERRIBLE gun carrier. I fear mistakes, slip ups, false starts…..and the fact that there's even a small chance a child would have any type of access or proximity to a weapon at school. If you'd like to hear more about my thoughts on school shootings…….please check out THIS post. I talked a lot about my feelings surrounding them.
Want to see more teaching thoughts, tips and tricks? Check out: