When You Find Out Your Child's Teacher...

Monday, July 30, 2018
Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve scampering down a hot driveway in the August sun to our mailbox, anxious to see if my teacher assignment had arrived.  When it did, I’d rush in the house, hands shaking, and open the letter, facing my fate for that school year.  I’d then share the news with my mom and she’d say something encouraging before I made frantic phone calls to my friends to find out the content of their letters.

So many things have changed, but some schools still handle teacher assignments this way. Others send emails, post teacher assignments on the wall at Back to School Night or maybe even inform families of teacher assignments for the next year when the previous school year is done. However the news is handled, one thing hasn’t changed: it’s big news. 

How we as adults handle this news is important. Children’s feelings are impacted by adult behaviors—more than we often take into account. When I was growing up, I guarantee you that my mom had an opinion about which teacher she’d like me to have most years. However, I don’t remember ever being aware of that. She’d smile, and find something positive to say (no matter what).  Never once did she call the school and complain, talk negatively to other parents about my assignment, or show an ounce of disappointment on her face. Looking back, I’m sure she was less than thrilled at what that letter said at times. But I never knew it.

Every single first day of school, I was excited. I loved school, no matter who my teacher was. Of course, some teachers I loved more than others, and I’m sure my mom felt the same way.  But she gave every one of them the benefit of the doubt, so I learned to do the same. And in doing so, I learned how to function and even thrive with various teaching styles and personalities. Each year of my elementary school experience was different, but every teacher I had taught me academics and, more importantly, something new about myself. 

When you find out your child’s teacher, know this: no one does this job because it’s easy. They do it because they love teaching and they love children—and that means they love your child. Every teacher in your child’s school will not only teach your child academics but they’ll also help your child grow as a person, and isn’t that what the school experience is all about? So many times I’ve "talked up" other teachers to parents who aren’t so sure about their child's assignment.  Every single teacher has something positive to offer! What if parents encouraged each other the same way?

When you find out your child’s teacher, consider this: what’s best for your child isn’t always having the “most popular” teacher or the teacher your family already knows. Sometimes your child grows the most by having a teacher completely different than the familiar. My kindergarten teacher was a smart, sweet black lady named Mrs. Anderson. My most vivid memory of her involves sitting on a carpet and singing “Bill Grogan’s Goat” while she played the accordion. She was nothing like my mom and I doubt that my parents knew a thing about her before they received that letter.  But that was fine and she was wonderful!

When you find out your child’s teacher, remember this: time flies. Your child will experience 6,570 days of life before reaching adulthood, and only 180 days will be spent with this year’s teacher, whether it was the one you’d been hoping for or the one you hadn’t. Capitalize on these teachable, impressionable moments for your child, and make sure they’re excited about that first day of school. Think about the life lessons involved with this piece of news, even if it isn't your first choice. And if it is your first choice, awesome! But it won’t be every year and that is okay. 

I’ll repost each year to remind you. 


5 Prime Finds I Use 5X/Week

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
I'm most definitely an Amazon prime teacher.  Just ask my FedeEx delivery guy, my dog who greets him, or my husband who pays my credit card bill. If you ask a teacher what they think when they hear Amazon, you'll probably hear "books" first, followed closely by pencils, Astrobrights paper, and Expo markers (all of which I ordered the last month of school). I'll be perusing deals on all of the above today, but really the Amazon purchases I use most in my classroom probably aren't the ones you'd think of first.

Here are five prime finds I use in my classroom five times a week. We'll work from most affordable to more expensive.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

1. board games

School should be fun, and I use a lot of board games in my classroom. For one, I like to have foolproof options on indoor recess day for my own sanity. Secondly, many games can be used as appropriate but engaging early finishers activities. For example, Apples to Apples Junior (on sale for Prime Day!) is rote practice of parts of speech in action. I saw a Boggle Jr. on sale for $8. Some favorites in my classroom for indoor recess are Sorry, Guess Who, Connect Four and Twister and they are ALL on sale for prime day.


2. a letter board

I got a letter board for my classroom this past year, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I even expected. Originally I saw one in a store for $45 which I could not justify, but then I bought one on Amazon for   $28 last summer. Today I saw one on sale for ten bucks less than that (click here) AND it had a variety of color choices. In my classroom, I used this on the first day of school and last day of school and sent split screens to the parents. They loved it! I also have the kids pose on their birthday and send to the parents, and my Mother's Day gifts this year were a huge hit. The possibilities are endless!

3. Post-It Easel Pads (25x30 inches)

This product is what turned me into an anchor chart teacher in addition to an Amazon Prime teacher! I use this kind and simply hang on my wall, but I also saw a great deal for Prime Day on this type which you could sit up on a table or on the floor if you teach little kids. Once the chart is complete, you simply peel it off the same as a sticky note, and attach it to the wall for display. They stick to the  painted cinder block walls in my classroom so they'll stick to anything! This "deal" probably seems like a big expense for what it is, but I'm telling you-- it changed my teaching life because it makes anchor charts SO easy! I've even been known to drag the whole tablet home at night to prep the next day's anchor charts on my coffee table.

4. an Audible membership (and Bluetooth speaker)

This one is a two-for-one tip. For each novel I teach, I purchase the audio book on Audible so that I can easily share it with my class. I also have this particular CD player/radio/Bluetooth speaker in my classroom so I can play the book through the Audible app on my phone and pause it from anywhere in the room at any time to discuss the text with my students. You can try Audible for free by clicking here and you'll get two free audio books to keep in doing so. This particular device that I have in my classroom is also available on Amazon (and it's great!) but I'm jumping on the Amazon Echo dot bandwagon myself this Prime Day so I'm excited to try sharing my Audible books with my students that way.

5. Chromebooks

In this case, last is certainly not least but seriously y'all-- Chromebooks are such a HUGE part of my classroom the last three years that I don't know how anyone is doing it without them anymore. This is the cheapest one I've seen for Prime Day at $119, but they are always a good deal. If you have your own children ages 8-12, I highly recommend them over a tablet or a regular laptop. And if you're a teacher and obviously you can't buy a class set today, set up a Donors Choose today instead and try to raise money for a few for your classroom this school year. I got my class set between three different Donors Choose projects, and you can read my tips for that venture here

Happy Prime Day! I'd love to hear about your favorite deals in the comments.