It truly was a fortuitous turn of events that led to the discovery of the most delectable chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. Doing what fathead brothers all over America are good for, mine decided to hide in the house one day after school. Not knowing he’s there and hearing a noise, I quietly look around. I don’t see him, but I still hear his noise, and when he didn’t answer after I called his name…twice…fight or flight kicked in, and well, now you know why they called me Jackie Joyner, Jr. – I flew to my neighbor’s house.
We’d lived in the neighborhood for probably close to a year and I’d barely seen my neighbors face, so after running to her house, I realized as scared as I was to stay in my home, I was equally frightened to knock on her door. My dear neighbor took me in and offered to let me stay until my parents came home. While we waited for her husband to look around my house, we ate the most wonderful chocolate treat I’d had from a home kitchen. When her husband came back over with my brother to pick me up, I didn’t want to leave.
Now, I pride myself on reaching the age of 30 without ever having a cavity, but I can’t say that I’m proud of how long it took me to interact with my neighbor. Don’t be like me. Don’t just wait until Parent/Teacher Conference to find out what’s going on inside your child’s classroom. We all want to experience the sweet tang of success in our children’s academic lives, and your children are academic chefs.
Teachers have few greater joys than sharing positive news with a parent; we want you to see the bulletin boards in the hallway, the star student news posted in our classrooms, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down help reorganizing the class library. Guest readers, W.A.T.C.H. Dog Dads, and I’m always so excited to have a parent volunteer to work in the classroom or host a class party. Your kids LOVE seeing you, and we love gaining more understanding about these wonderful beings we are getting to know.
Sometimes our negative experiences with that really strict teacher or memories from not doing well in school can give pause to the idea of opening up and reaching out to get involved with the school system. Certainly, there’s a chance you may meet resistance. If you try to reach out to your child’s teacher and don’t get the response you want, try making a specific suggestion. Perhaps they need you to make homework packets, stuff folders, help with class projects, or offer your unique talent to further engage students in a difficult lesson.
You should know many of us beat down the doors to get inside our classrooms this summer and prepare them for your students. We want school to be a caring and welcoming learning environment for your child AND you. Please, accept the invitation, or extend your own. It can be scary to leave our house for the neighbor’s, but if we don’t, how will we ever get to taste the wonderful cookies inside?