This year, I am going to be better prepared.
In Kindergarten, I wasn't fully involved in the one (and only) parent-teacher conference I had with my son's teacher. I (somewhat naively) thought we would have more than one conference. But we didn't. And I missed my chance.
I missed my chance to learn more about my child's teacher and - more importantly - make sure she had a full understanding of our family's values and dynamics.
Admittedly, that is a deep conversation to have with someone in a 20-minute time span, but this year, I am going in with a list of questions. My questions are going to span everything from homework (what are the expectations for parental involvement?) to the more mundane (why are all your emails in pink/purple fonts?). Clearly, I will have to prioritize before I go in.
But the point of my preparation isn't necessarily for dealing with first grade. It is practice for all the future one-on-one conversations I am going to have with my son's teachers over his school career. One thing has become very clear to me: If our children's teachers know more about family life, then they feel more comfortable reaching out for help.
I don't expect my child's teacher to know my son the way that I know him. But I do expect her to reach out if she has questions or if there is a problem. And it is my responsibility to make sure she feels comfortable doing that.
Preferably not in such a bright color for her email text, but we'll cross that bridge later.
Does your child's teacher feel comfortable reaching out to you? Tell me in the comments.