Volunteer in your kid’s classroom.
Not only can you observe and learn how a professional handles your kiddo’s age group, but you can take those skills home and use them. USE THEM AGAINST YOUR KID! Do you guys not realize that the teachers know how to cajole, manipulate and otherwise coerce your child into doing math, hold a puppet show, or retrieve new glue sticks? AND THEY CAN TEACH YOU THEIR MAGIC!
I mostly volunteer in the twins’ kindergarten classrooms. I am tasked with working with some of the children who can use extra help with the alphabet, identifying letters and sounds, rhyming and syllables. But as I work with these cherubs who belong to their own parents (believe me, some are so cheek-pinchingly earnest that I can only wish they were mine), I watch their teacher like a hawk. How she quiets the excitable crowd, how she transitions them from one activity to another. How when she calls for clean up she does not tolerate the blocks being thrown near the bucket–“Who played with blocks? This is not how we put away blocks. You put them away just as you found them, Joey.”
As you write your thank-yous to your child’s teachers, don’t forget to thank them for their patience. If you have time–even just one day per month–offer to volunteer in your child’s classroom. Get in tune with what your kiddo is learning, who they are sitting next to, and do not miss out on learning from the teaching techniques his/her teacher uses and bring those skills home.
You’re a parent. There’s no certification required to be a parent. We don’t always know what we’re doing. But there are a whole lot of certifications to become a teacher. There’s a chance we can learn from them. Yes, even the kindergarten teachers. Especially the kindergarten teachers.
And no, they don’t get paid enough. (And yes, they have enough “#1 teacher!” Christmas tree ornaments. Gift card to anywhere, my friends–I’m guessing that’s always preferable to anything that says “teacher”.)