As kids head back to school and parents and teachers maneuver a rather different routine, things can feel a little uncertain. However, as a community, we are blessed to have dedicated teachers who aim to help their students thrive and learn! Whether your child is learning virtually from home or has returned to in-school classes, these amazing tips can help everyone smoothly transition into this school year!
“Do you! Take your time! There are going to be so many new things in front of you in the first few weeks (if not months) of the school year. Give yourself patience and grace in understanding your expectations, what works for both you and your student. Every kiddo is different. Do what you feel is best! But overall, enjoy life and it’s little moments!” – Kelly Lamers, Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher, Flex Academy
“Whatever happens this fall, we need to be ready to roll with it. Virtual…we got this! Hybrid…okay, we can do this. Full-time, face-to-face…sure, I truly miss my students! And parents, please know that your teachers view this “new normal” as a partnership. When we do not see our students daily, we are not as sure about how they are doing. Please reach out to us. One of my favorite parts that came out of virtual learning last spring was the connection I made to students in a totally different way. We invited each other into our homes, via a screen, and we were able to get to know each other better. And that was great! Parents, your child’s teacher is still right there wanting to help, but it just looks a bit different. If your kid needs help with the material or getting a resource, let us know! We will do what we can to make that happen. But like I always tell my own kids, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” So please let us know what you need. In a virtual or hybrid environment, communication is key!” – Amanda Van De Yacht, Grades 9-12, Little Chute High School
“Start having conversations with your children about the excitement of school starting, reuniting with past school mates, teachers, and of course the new school outfits! Anything to get them pumped about the new school year! Teachers are still excited too! Start establishing a routine for bedtime, eating healthy lunches, hand washing. That way students are all set to go for the new year!” – Shelby Van Sambeek, 2nd & 3rd Grade, Flex Academy
“It is so difficult to give any ‘best tips’ given that I have never taught during an international pandemic! But when I stop to think about it, my usual advice still applies. Be organized, encourage families to establish relationships with teachers early on, write down SMART goals for each class, and try to have a growth mindset. Now more than ever, it will be important to not only start organized but to keep up with a system that works best for you. Paper planners, google calendars, apps – whatever it is, find a system that works best, and stick to it! Teachers want to work with parents to see that each student is successful. If teachers aren’t reaching out, I’d encourage parents to reach out to teachers early on. Share with us what works for your child, what doesn’t work, and what your goals are for growth this year. Quarantine really put the school-home connection to the test, it is important to establish a positive connection early on so teachers can best support each student!” – Lisa Graf, 8th Grade, Merrill Middle School
“Students – Keep open and honest communication with your parents/guardians and teacher. You, your parent/guardian, and teacher work as a triad for you. They all want what is best for you and will do what they can to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable at school. Your mental health matters!” – Kaitlyn McDaniel, 2nd & 3rd Grade, Flex Academy
“Kids pick up on adult emotions! We are all accepting this virtual Learning our own way, but it is so important to make sure you don’t let your emotions play into your child’s emotions. Teachers are working harder than ever to figure out the best way to make your child’s learning engaging and fun!” – Kathy Dachelet, Kindergarten, Jefferson Elementary
“One thing [my family] just started with our two little ones was practicing wearing a mask for an extended amount of time. I saw the tip shared on Facebook that when kids are on devices or watching TV to have them wear a mask so that’s what we’ve been doing to try to build up some endurance so it isn’t such a shock when they have to at school all day. I’ve also ordered a few things – mask lanyards, custom sew-in name tags with our last name to sew onto the masks so if they do set it down for some reason that the teacher knows whose it is, found some magical drops that prevent glasses from fogging with a mask on, a washable lunch box that unzips and becomes a placemat to eat on so their lunch doesn’t touch the table. One thing that I’m doing for our school is creating buttons with teachers’ pictures so that students can see their teachers’ smiling faces and hopefully ease some of the anxiety that the masks might cause.” – Becky Ackermann, Library Media/Instruction, Little Chute High School
“Have patience and gratitude in every day. It will be good for you personally and for your kiddos. We are living in unprecedented times in a situation that is very multifaceted. Think of how much you’ve already been through since last March; point that out to the kids and young adults to show them how much they’ve done already and will be able to do (and overcome) in the future.” – Kelli McGreevey, Grades 9-12, Xavier High School
“I would say that it’s going to be stressful for everyone. Sustained high stress can be rough. So make sure you are still doing things to take care of yourself. Be active, take a walk, ride your bike, do yoga. Get enough sleep (that’s so important). I also can’t overstate the importance of staying in contact with your teachers. Email them. Let them know how you’re doing. Let them know when you don’t understand lessons. Let them know if you’re having problems. Keep them in the loop. Even on a hybrid schedule where you see each other a couple times a week everyone will still feel a little disconnected. Finally, keep a schedule! Just because you’re not in the building doesn’t mean you’re not at school! Keep it up! You can do hard things! Together we can do this!” – Alisa Matthies, Art, Little Chute High School
While this year is different for students, parents, and teachers alike, the focus will still be on a valuable education. What is your family doing to encourage learning this school year? No matter what, you got this!