EVERY parent has been there: you drop your kid off at school, but something’s just not right.
Maybe it was a tough morning, maybe they didn’t sleep well. Maybe something is going on at home that’s causing stress.
Primary school teacher Rachel Harder doesn’t need the details. She only needs to know to “handle with care.”
Harder, who teaches in Hutchinson, Kansas, handed out a message to the parents of the students in her class this year and now it’s being shared on social media by educators all over the country.
She said she came up with the idea after attending a trauma conference a few years ago.
“There was a discussion how police stations across the country have started partnering with schools so that when they have encounters with families in the evenings or on weekends, the police will contact the school – either counsellor or administrator – and let them know to handle a student with care since they had encounters with police beforehand,” Harder told Fox News.
“We loved this idea and figured there had to be a way to make this work within our own classroom community.”
The next year, she said, she had a student new to the school who also had autism. Some mornings she struggled to get to school. Harder started using the “handle with care” system with the girl’s mum.
“I knew that when she would text me that her daughter needed some extra time and a quiet location, not the gym for morning announcements, so that the rest of her day went smoothly,” Harder said.
“It’s important for me to give kids a few minutes of extra time or space – and it’s easy to give.”
Plus, Harder said, the payout is “huge.”
“Give them a bit of time and the rest of our day tends to go a bit smoother.”
Now, she’s using the system with all the parents of her students.
“They can just let me know it was a hard morning. I don’t need to know details but parents like that – they know I’m keeping an extra eye on them,” Harder said. “I also usually text back and let them know how the morning is going.”
She said the system is “giving kids the grace we all want after a hard night or morning”.
“We all have challenging mornings – we can’t find shoes, backpacks aren’t packed,” Harder said.
“It’s doing for others what we would like done for us when we have days that are hard.”
“A lot of teachers do this without needing a text from parents,” she continued.
We know that kids need time and space and love just by the way they walk in the room. But, a heads-up from parents is wonderful if we can get that.”
Reaction to Harder’s text system has been overwhelmingly positive, with people online describing it as an “incredible idea”.
“I think the key word is grace. Giving the other person the grace we all need,” person commented.
“Wow. No details required, no intrusion into your family or parental rights. This is a new one. Kudos to this teacher,” another said.
While one wrote: “Incredible idea! Kids transitioning from home to school can be super difficult, especially little ones. A great but simple way to communicate difficulties. Love.”
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission
In other back-to-school news, we revealed teachers’ pet hates that will make them instantly “hate” your child.
And this is how mum-of-22 Sue Radford preps for busy school mornings.
Plus we reveal how to beat the back-to-school nerves.