Back-to-school: 6 Pro Tips for Teachers and Students

Glenna Housman and her family. Photo courtesy of Housman family.

It’s officially that time of year again: back-to-school. We know many of you may be getting your little ones ready for their first day, or settling into the groove of things with classes back in session. It’s a chaotic week for families, students and staff. In an effort to help get your kids prepared and to help prepare teachers, we talked to some experts in education, namely Glenna Housman, a middle school nurse in Virginia.

“We know that when it’s time to get kids ready to come back to school, parents’ lives get a little hectic,” says Glenna. “Staff members tend to rely on parents to share a lot of information about their students, but I think it’s also very important for teachers and school administrators to take certain prep steps, too.”

Here are 6 tips for teachers and students alike to be Red Cross Ready as they embark on the new school year:

Get a Kit

  • Think about emergency preparedness items you don’t already have in your classroom. Some good supplies to have on hand are a flashlight and cell phone charger in case the power goes out. We tend to rely on our technology in times of crisis, especially to communicate.
  • Talk to your school nurse and ask for an extra batch of first aid items like gauze pads and bandages without latex (in case of allergies), for emergencies or if you can’t get to the nurse’s station right away.
  • Know which students have allergies and which ones do not. If you’re a parent, we suggest putting a supply kit together in your student’s backpack. If they have allergies or certain medical needs, be sure to have those things noted for the teacher. If you’re a teacher, have some snacks in your classroom that can be used for kids with allergies or diabetes. Some examples include non-peanut snacks, non-perishables, hard candy. Also be aware of allergies to things like grass or wood chips often found on playgrounds, in case a student has an allergic reaction at recess.

Make a Plan

  • Know where to go for emergencies like a tornado or fire in the cafeteria. Most schools have policies in place and practice drills regularly. If your school doesn’t have these policies already in play, talk to your administrators and staff about how to protect your students.
  • Don’t forget to update your child’s school health records. These records should be updated at the beginning of every school year. Any health care plans signed by the doctors are needed each fall for food allergies, inhalers, diabetics, sickle cell anemia, etc. so teachers and nurses are well-equipped to treat your kids.
  • Talk with your class about what to do in emergencies. Keeping the steps simple and easy to follow will help them remember when you practice.

Be Informed

  • While we hope your school year goes off without a hitch, we know it’s always best to be prepared for whatever may happen.
  • If you’re on top of emergency preparedness, then you’ll be teaching your students a good life skill and making their parents feel better while they’re under your care.
  • If it’s not already, your school could be a Red Cross shelter if disaster strikes. Learn more about how to make your facility a safe space with Red Cross Ready Rating.

This post was originally published on Red Cross Chat and is published on this blog with permission. 

Changing Diapers Is Fun!

Brianna Kompelien holds up her Red Cross baby. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Brianna Kompelien holds up her Red Cross baby. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

Oops! Brianna’s baby’s head popped off! Not the head of a real baby. No! No! No ! It’s Brianna’s babysitter’s training doll’s head! Phew. That’s a relief, which is kind of the whole point of the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Class: to teach young people how to care for children (including how to hold them) and to be outstanding babysitters.

Recently, around 10 kids from Willmar, a small town west of the Twin Cities metro, took a Red Cross babysitter’s training class that a generous donor helped fund (thank you!) making the class nearly free ($10). Liz Sheehy, the Red Cross instructor teaching the class, says that the grant funding is terrific because “it gives kids who normally couldn’t afford the class to chance to take the class.”

Tammy Rudningen says the grant funded classes were a "screamin' deal." Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Tammy Rudningen says the grant funded classes were a “screamin’ deal” for Willmar kids. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

The Red Cross worked with Tammy Rudningen at Willmar Community Education & Recreation to arrange the classes. Rudningen, who also teaches at Willmar Public Schools, says that more than “50 percent of her students qualify for reduced fee or free lunches. That’s reflective of the economy of our community.” And costing $85 normally, $10 she says, is “a screamin’ deal.”

As usual, the Red Cross is over the moon to have had a hand in making important emergency training available for young people, and especially future babysitters of Willmar. We hope you are, too. Click here to learn more about Red Cross health and safety classes in your area.

Story and photos by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross