I’m sitting on a little green stool in front of my class of Year One students preparing to read them Possum Magic. I adjust the book on its stand and go to pick up my reading wand that’s filled with glitter. I cast my eyes over the room, preparing my reading voice, when I notice it.
From the corner of the blue carpet that’s surrounded by tiny tables and tiny chairs.
I let it pass, I finish the book and the Fruit Break bell rings. I call Sarah* to the front of the room as she steps up to me with her hat on her head, popper and fruit in one hand, still scratching with the other. I ask her to lean in closer and that’s when I’m certain. Nits. I see them and all of a sudden I know I’m in for a tricky chat with Sarah’s mum at the school gate at 3pm about how we deal with the itchy problem.
When it comes to teachers, it’s fair to say your child’s life revolves around them, particularly in their early years. And when we’re spending six hours (sometimes more) a day in a classroom, on the playground, on the sporting field or in an auditorium together, it’s safe to say we notice things. We notice LOTS of things. Head lice, as you can see, is just one of them. Worms is another!
Here are some of the other things teachers notice about your kids that you sometimes don’t:
1. Scratching, oh, the scratching.
Now I know we just covered head scratching in the form of nits. But if you’re a parent, you will know all too well not all scratches are created equal and there are lots of other types. So let’s get straight to the point. Bum scratching. Yes, there’s no nice way around it. When a line of 25 students is assembled that’s most often when you’ll notice it. You see, it’s easy to pick up movements when all the kids are in a nice straight line and sometimes this can indicate a child has worms.
Yep, that’s an awkward one to bring up with mum or dad. So I advise parents to keep Combantrin chocolate squares in their cupboard at home when moments like these strike. It’s a great form of treatment.
Who said teaching wasn’t fun?
2. Their learning style.
Of course, the nitty gritty aside, teachers and students are at school to achieve a common goal. For us to teach and for them to learn. And that's when we start to pick out particular traits of different learning styles. Some students learn visually, some learn by reading a text over and over, some learn by talking it through. That kid who talks too much in class? They're not necessarily as disruptive as you might think. Usually being eager to talk is just a sign of how they process information (unless they're throwing paper planes at other kids, which is another story altogether).
3. How much they participate.
Participation can be a big indicator of how engaged a student is in their learning environment. When you ask a question and you see hands shoot up, you can take that as a pretty good sign that students are listening to what you're saying and taking it on board.
Funnily enough, I've found students who have a parent in the P&C are little instigators of change in the classroom. As the old saying goes, sometimes the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. That's why when a parent asks me how their child is going, if they're actively taking part in lessons and activities, that's a great sign.
4. How they interact with other students.
While many parents take time during play dates to interact with other adults (don't worry, we understand) teachers spend a lot of time looking at peer-to-peer behaviour and know how your child conducts themselves in social circles. After all, socialisation is part of the learning process too.
More often than not they fall into two camps: those that are outgoing and those that are more reserved. But don't take what your personality is like as an indicator of what your child is like at school. Sometimes students can be the exact opposite to their parents and their behaviour will change in different scenarios.
5. Their manners when you're not around.
We know children are adaptable. They can mould to almost any scenario. Sometimes though, they can be tactless in doing so. You can tell the most about a child's manners when their parents aren't around. If they're equally polite to us when you're not in their direct vicinity as they are to you, you deserve a great big pat on the back.
6. How much they want to impress you.
This one is applies in equal parts to both parents and teachers. All most children want is for you to tell them they're doing a great job and for you to acknowledge their hard work. For example, when I was teaching Year One, I had a group of students who would write me notes and messages on the white board next to my desk. They were so proud of their work, I wasn't even allowed to rub it off! Yeah, it's a little difficult when you need that space to do work...
Remember - when a student has spent a lot of time on something, whether it be their homework or their art project, they certainly want you to know about it. A bit of praise from both directions can do wonders for their self esteem.
7. How much they miss you after a school day.
You might not know it, but as a teacher I hear about parents a lot. What you did after school, what you did on the weekend and how much kids love spending time with their parents. While some students won't admit it, when that 3pm bell rings all they want is a great big hug from their mum or dad. And in the rush of the day or week, in the rush or life, that's something that not all parents realise.
Are you a teacher? What's something you notice that parents don't?
* Names have been changed.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Combantrin®.
Holiday care, kids’ sports and school environments are all ideal breeding grounds for worms. While they are easy for kids to pick up and be spread through human contact, they might come back again – and that’s OK! It’s easy to be prepared with COMBANTRIN® and COMBANTRIN®-1 products at hand to ensure the whole family is worm free. Available in both tasty chocolate squares and orange-flavoured tablets, COMBANTRIN® can effectively treat worms.
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More information can be found at www.combantrin.com.au.
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Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your health care professional. ® Trade mark.