One of the most influential people in your little one's life will be their school teacher. Whether it's from taking them on new learning adventures, providing an attentive ear or encouraging new and exciting personal challenges, a classroom teacher holds special insights about your child.
Being a teacher in the modern day is much more than ticking boxes covered in the curriculum. Teaching is a lifestyle. It's a job that can provide immense satisfaction, as well as extreme frustration at times.
You are always 'on'. It's not a job that you can clock on and clock off from. A dedicated teacher spends countless hours at home preparing resources, marking papers and re-inventing concepts to reach your child - their student - on a meaningful level.
Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. In honour of World Teacher Day (October 5), we asked primary school teacher, Emma Watters, to explain some of the things teachers wish they could tell their student's parents, but don't usually get the opportunity to.
"Your child is a constant surprise and their learning is powerful. Investigative in nature and attached to their passions, they often find solutions to problems in ways that a curriculum could never possibly fathom," says Emma.
"In order to keep students engaged, I often need to shift my perceptions of them and their world. It's here, when I am trying to push your child further in their thinking, I too discover something new about my world," she says.
"Children are much more open to change and knowledge building than many adults. Your child is gutsy, brave and determined."
Their creativity isn’t limited to drawing and painting
"Your child creates a number of artefacts of learning each day. They write, draw, dance, sing and make, though this is not all they create. Your child also creates interesting solutions and forms complex theories about our world.
"They understand that true knowledge building involves taking the ideas of others and building them into a big idea," Emma coninues, "I value your child’s true creativity and asking their reasons for their decisions is one of my favourite things to do. School is more than drawing, writing and answering questions. It is the constant pursuit of thinking and rethinking. Your child is wired to think, and it is not linear," she reveals.
We’re on the same side
"You are your child’s entire world before you drop them at their classroom door on their very first day at school. You are their first source of self-worth. I will do everything in my power to continue your good work with your child but I may only be in your child’s life for a year," explains Emma.
"This means that your impact is far greater than mine. The things that you name and notice in your child’s life are the things that they decide you place value on. We both place value on their happiness and health and welfare above all else, as well as their minds, self-determination and their strength of will. We both need to remember to let them know the things we care about. We are on the same team, moving towards the same goal," she says.
Good grades aren’t the be all and end all
"Play is a safe forum for children to test out ideas. You'll see them interacting with their environment and each other to explore things they have seen in their lives, such as playing teacher or happy families," Emma explains, "They are testing out new theories and often, they test out both examples and non-examples of what they have experienced.
"Don’t underestimate the value of uninterrupted, unguided play as this is where children begin flexing their decision-making muscles," she says, "It is much more valuable than an extra worksheet or two."
We love that you’re involved
"There is no such thing as too involved in your child’s education," recommends Emma. "Spend time with them, find out what they are passionate about, talk to your child’s teacher about the ideas they are grappling with at the moment and investigate them as a team at home.
"Links between school and home are what makes successful learners, who see knowledge as something to constantly build upon, and these are the children who thrive long after school," she says.