12 Ways to Help Your Child's Teacher

Want to build a stronger connection to your child's school? Want to become more of a visible presence? Well, guess what? You get what you give, and giving a helping hand to your child's teacher a perfect way to be involved! We've got 12 cool ways for you to help out and offer your child's hard-working teacher a little support that she won't take for granted.

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By Samantha Cleaver

Helping in your child’s classroom isn’t limited to chaperoning field trips or bringing in birthday treats. From September through June, teachers welcome parent helpers for more than an extra pair of hands. As a new school year starts, here are 12 ways that you can help your child’s teacher. All you have to do is ask!

Sharpen Pencils

All that time that elementary school teachers spend sharpening pencils can really add up! Stop in once a week for 15 minutes after school to sharpen pencils to fill all those pencil boxes.

Help Around the Classroom

Lend a hand filing papers or organizing report cards to go home. If you have time to spare during the week, help reorganize the classroom library, make copies or wipe down desks, tables and windows.

Restock the Supply Closet

Around January, the supply closet that was once fully stocked with tissues, baby wipes and paper towels starts to go bare. Help restock the shelves with basics, and ask what other supplies teachers might need for science fairs or art projects.

Be a Reading Buddy

If you have time during the school day, offer to come in and read with students during a set time each week. As you read, ask students questions about the stories to help them develop reading fluency and comprehension skills.

Lead a Small Group

During reading or math time, offer to work with small groups or individual students on specific reading and math goals, such as learning sight words, spelling words or practicing math facts.

Be a Bulletin Board Buddy

If your child’s teacher has a hallway bulletin board or classroom bulletin board that needs to be changed to showcase new student work or reinforce a new concept, offer to help put up new boards. Even better, ask your child if he wants to help design and put up a board.

Deliver a School Day Treat

At the start or end of the year when it’s hot outside, bring in fresh fruit or cold juice boxes for students mid-afternoon. A cool treat is a big help and much better than sugary snacks.

Provide IT Support

Young kids may be savvy with Facebook and video games, that but doesn’t mean they’re ready to use word processing and publishing programs. If the class is using computers to write, volunteer to help students write and edit their work.

Bring Your Set of Skills

If you have a special set of skills, ask your child’s teacher if you can be of service. If you’re a web developer, offer to help set up and manage a classroom site. If you have expertise doing home videos, offer to record and edit a classroom memories video.

Teach a Lesson

If you have a skill that you use at work or for a hobby, consider bringing it into your child’s classroom for a special presentation. If you work in a laboratory, for example, bring in a simple science experiment. Or, if you work at a newspaper, teach a writing lesson. Before you bring in your expertise, talk with the teacher to connect it to the curriculum.

Make Use of At-Home Time

Ask your child’s teacher if you can cut out words for a word wall or prepare materials for a project while you watch TV at night or over the weekend.

Record Your Favorite Stories

Read your child’s favorite stories onto CDs or MP3 files that can be used in the classroom listening center. To give the recordings a boost of cuteness, have your child record stories that she loved in previous years.

Every time you spend time putting up a bulletin board, reading with a child, simply sharpening pencils or any other way you help in your child’s classroom this year, you’re strengthening your child’s connection with school, and that’s always worth the effort!

Looking for more ways to make life easy for the teacher? To find out what teachers want from parents, straight from teachers themselves, read “6 Things Teachers Wish You Would Do.”

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