Your favorite FresYes Family blogger (ok, the ONLY FresYes Family blogger…) has done your homework for you and has interviewed a group of teachers about what they would love for parents to know as they plan for the first day of a new school year and compiled the responses into an easy to read cheat sheet. If you want to start the new year off on the right foot, it’s best you do what you should do all year – listen to the teachers.
FresYes: What back-to-school supplies do students actually need?
Teachers: It’s best to wait for the teacher’s supply list if you haven’t already received one. Spending a lot of money on items you’re just guessing your child will need can be a big waste. Some items that are pretty much always a safe bet are: pencils (pre-sharpened, please), a lunchbox, a reasonably-sized backpack, erasers (white ones work better than pink – less smudging!), a glue stick (better than glue), crayons for young children, colored pencils for older children, fine tipped markers for any age. For older students (junior high and above) binder paper and graph paper will be needed. Highlighters are important for high-schoolers.
FresYes: So are there items you see often that you feel are a waste?
Teachers: Yes. Binders! (unanimously) There is no need for a binder for a child until after 3rd grade (unless your child’s teacher specifically requests one). Also, pencil boxes – they’re distracting, there’s often no room for them in the desk, so they sit on top of the desk and get shaken around and serve as a distraction. Also, no one needs a full case of art supplies – there’s no space for that either. Though it’s not technically a waste, we’d really love it if you could pass on the rolling backpacks unless really necessary due to textbook weight. They don’t hang well on the backs of chairs, thus leaving them on the floor, tipping over and tripping me or your child’s classmates. Small to mid-sized regular backpacks are ideal if possible.
FresYes: If a parent wanted to contribute some supplies to the classroom, which are most appreciated?
Teachers: Clorox wipes or similar disinfecting surface wipes, disinfecting hand wipes or hand sanitizer, Kleenex, sharpened pencils, dry erase markers (ours dry out fast), bulk snacks with no peanut ingredients to have for students if needed.
FresYes: Living in a post-Pinterest world, it seems likely some parents may send first day of school gifts, any tips on what you’d love and what you’d prefer parents pass on?
Teachers: We don’t expect anything, but if families really want to do something, and are going to anyway, we are admittedly darn happy with a Starbucks gift card. Really. We love Starbucks. We’d rather not receive more mugs. We get a lot of mugs. Well, unless you wanted to send an insulated travel type mug. We can put our Starbucks in there. But really, we don’t expect anything, it’s not necessary.
FresYes: Any first day specific advice you hope families will heed?
Teachers: Make sure your kids eat a good breakfast and pack a snack for recess time. Hungry, nervous kids are unhappy kids. Please say your good-byes promptly when the school day starts. There are nerves to soothe and a whole new routine to learn, and that’s just a smoother process when it’s just a teacher and the students. Sorry – we don’t mean to make you feel unwelcome, we’ve just got to get the morning routine down and it’s going to take us a few days. The morning routine is critical to starting off a day well, so we’d like to work on it beginning day 1. Oh, and if you want us to take a picture with your child on the first day, we’re more than happy to say cheese – but we’d love it if you’d take those pictures in the morning before school instead of after school when we have “I survived the first day hair.”
Don’t forget you still have a chance to win an iPad