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  • Gentle Hands! Bathroom Etiquette! How Teachers Wish Parents Prepare Their Kids for School

    “Beyond the academic achievements, a kind child is someone a parent and teacher can be very proud of."
    by Aussy A. Aportadera .
  • The Learning Connection’s preschool teacher Avic Gemora says, “I wish parents would teach their children to respect (or ‘take care of’ in kids’ terms) others — young, old, human, ALL.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera

    As everyone gets into the frenzy of going back to school, it’s easy to think that only the parents and children are feeling the excitement and anxiety of this season. With all the hopes, plans, and attempts to take the best first day in a school photo for social media, you may overlook the other most important person in the classroom: teacher! 

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    That’s right — the human being whose summer ended with practicing their life vocation to help shape your growing little person’s experience of the world. 

    What teachers wish you taught them before going back to school

    As you pack your children’s bags and kiss their worries away as they go back to school, don’t forget to whisper a last minute lesson or two based on these things on your teacher’s secret wish list.

    Show your child how to be kind, be gentle, be respectful — to everyone!

    “One of the things I wish parents would teach or remind their kids is first to be kind to their classmates,” says Bee Magnaye, who teaches at Gymboree Play and Music Rockwell Club.

    “Believe it or not, I’ve noticed little forms of bullying in kids as young as preschool (mostly physical, of course). I’d like parents to reinforce the ‘gentle hands’ rule at home, so it continues at school when we teach it.”

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    Teacher Bee stresses, “Gentle hands are very important!”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera

    Boracay European International School’s Grade 1 teacher Jaz Mara also says, “Beyond the academic achievements, a kind child is someone a parent and teacher can be very proud of. It makes the world a better place, too!”

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    Something as simple as a child modulating his voice can also make a big difference. “We teachers secretly wish that parents encourage their children to use their ‘indoor voice’ while inside,” says Saoi Nagase, the teacher of Bright Ridge Preschool at the Acqua Residences.

    “Sometimes, children feel the louder their voice is, the more they will get heard. With consistent reminders and modeling, children can remember when to use their indoor and outdoor voice.”

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    Let your child know he can do a lot of things by himself

    Teacher Eileen Banal shares, “I wish kids knew bathroom etiquette! Being considerate and respectful of other people, especially those who clean the restrooms is an essential life lesson that applies to all places, so it would be great to not only have this reinforced but actively taught and practiced at home, so children are aware of it.

    Teacher Eileen has been teaching multiple age levels at The Yellow Submarine School in La Union for two years now but handled first graders in Manila before moving to the surf town.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera
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    “Although most of the students I’ve had were potty-trained by the time they got to me, there have been so many times when I’d walk into the restroom to see that children had played with toilet paper and covered the floor with it. They left the tap running with water pooling on the sink and floor, not flushed toilets, or used up all the soap in the soap dispenser… in five minutes.”

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    It boils down to what Teacher Jaz says: “Independence is, for me, a value that is crucial to teach at this age. It would be nice if the parents would start letting their child do simple chores at home or even just self-help tasks such as changing their shirts or combing their hair, which they will be able to carry on in school.

    Teacher Jazz: “Tying their shoelaces, specifically, is something I really wish parents would teach their children at this age, or sending them to school with a pair of easy Velcro shoes is definitely a good alternative!”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera
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    Of course, some parents would argue school is where they hope their children would learn these lessons. But Teacher Bee adds, “The kids don’t have to be completely independent by the time school starts, but it would help if they already have an idea of the coming routine. Show trust and friendship with the teachers and, that way, your kids will, too, over time.”

    Tell your child that a teacher is the family friend

    Kids need to know that teachers are like their parents in school until mommy or daddy pick you up.

    Teacher Avic wishes “parents [would] introduce their children’s teachers to them through photos, so they aren’t complete strangers on the first day of class.”

    It is especially helpful for younger children embarking on their very first encounter with the school. “[I wish] parents [would] show their children that they trust their teachers because if they show anxiety about leaving their kids in school, children will feel that and they will feel anxious, too,” adds Avic.

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    “Over my years teaching and being around kids, separation anxiety is always present,” imparts Bee. “But it has to start with the parents and guardians at home. It’s not easy to be away from your child —I’ve seen many mothers cry and time and time again. Teachers are there to hand them some tissues and give comforting words.

    “Some kids are okay with being left at school for a bit but without mommy or yaya and some kids who are not okay with it and need time. That’s fine. Teachers help with that, but I believe it’s something the parents can prepare for before school starts.”

    Last but not least, Bee emphasizes, “Please don’t make the teacher the bad guy. It’s one of the reasons kids get scared of school. Things like, ‘Hala, the teacher will get mad!’ doesn’t help.”

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    Make sure your child knows he doesn’t always have to be the winner — and just because you win doesn’t mean you lose.

    Teacher Kristel can’t stress it enough. “It is okay not to be first, and there is nothing wrong with being last. Like a flower, everyone blooms in their own perfect time.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera

    Teacher Kristel Canalita, who will embark on further studies in Early Education in New Zealand, says her experiences as a teacher of pre-kinder at St. Scholastica’s College and first grade at an international school in Bonifacio Global City, have urged her to share the following with parents.

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    “We have always encouraged our children to do their best and aim for the stars, which is quite laudable because we should always remind them of the great things they are capable of. What I wish we also emphasize is that they won’t always finish first or be called on or get the coveted line leader position, and that is completely fine. 

    “There are days that you will finish last or you have absolutely no idea what is going on, and that does not make you any less worthy. They should be able to celebrate each other’s wins and empathize with a friend’s struggle. We should cultivate both at home and in school common respect for each learner’s unique needs.”

    Teacher Angela Gregorio, who also teaches first grade at the same school, says, “Let them know that mistakes are part of learning. Most anxiety comes from having to get it all right. At this point, they are all still trying to and what they really need is an assurance that it will all be alright. It is not always about the winning moments but the learning moments.”

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    It’s okay to cry

    Speaking of anxiety, and all the big feelings of going to school and interacting with people entail, one of the most important lessons that teachers hope their students learn is expressing their emotions is crucial to their health and individuality.

    Teacher Jian Miranda sees this all the time in his line of work as an art teacher to kids between the ages of 3 and 9. “It’s okay to cry,” he says, “It’s perfectly normal to express their feelings, especially when they are angry, sad, upset, or hurt.”

    Teacher Jian: “[Children’s] feelings are valid, and it is better to cry it out than silence them, so they learn how to deal with their feelings appropriately.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aussy A. Aportadera
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    Teacher Bee adds, “It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to get hurt (tripping, falling, bumping, etc.). They can cry if they want to get everything out. It’s all part of growing up and getting stronger. Fall down, get back up, and so on.

    “If another classmate gets hurt, it’s good to tell your child to ask the other if they are okay, maybe to give a hug (if the other child allows). I believe these are small but very important steps to teaching the child empathy and, in turn, teaches other children around your child empathy as well.”

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