#123: School Partnerships & Fantasy Football

#123: School Partnerships & Fantasy Football

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How to build home-school partnerships to help students succeed

Everyone wants their children to be successful in school, but how is often a topic of debate. No matter which side of the many school debates you fall on, student success starts with a great home-school partnership.


Practical ideas for how to partner with the school well.

As a parent, it can be easy to let our past relationship with school as a student or as a parent of an older child color our current relationship with school. If we’ve had great experiences before, it’s a lot easier to hope for a great experience this year. But if you’ve had a negative experience, the flip side of the coin is also true. It can be easy to start believing the worst. That’s totally normal!

That’s why it’s essential to treat every year as a chance for a new start, for you, your kids, and your school.

In that vein, we’ve got a few ideas on how to get off on the right foot.


Be intentional about building positive relationships with school staff (teacher, principal, coach, front office, counselor, etc.)

It makes it easier to communicate with someone when there is an issue if you already have a relationship. You also have more compassion for people you know.

It feels more like everyone’s on the same team when you know people’s names and voices. It could start with a simple conversation or a small gift.

Just like with any friend, be respectful and believe the best of the teachers in your life. If there is a problem, talk to them instead of assuming the worst or talking bad about the school.


Have a good attitude about school!

Your attitude will be contagious when It comes to extracurriculars, homework, school rules, etc. If you set an upbeat tone, your kids are more likely to follow.

Your attitude is also key when it comes to school work. If you want to instill a life-long love of learning in your kids, focus on growth and not perfection. It’s hard for most parents to celebrate effort instead of results, but try exchanging a vague “good job!” with “wow you should be really proud of how hard you’ve worked!”

Part of having a good attitude about school can be supporting your general school community. Volunteer at the school when needed. Go to games or shows (even if your student isn’t part of it). Encourage teachers and staff.

When we feel like we’re part of a larger community, everyone benefits and students are more likely to feel like they are capable and able to reach out when they need help!


Create a good home environment for learning

In a busy world, it’s easy to overlook this one. Between sports practice and music lessons and life, being intentional about homework models executive functioning skills (think organization and self-control) for your kids that will help them in every aspect of life.


Here are a few tips on how to do it:
  • Set aside a place for students to study or do homework.
  • Create a routine that helps your student succeed at home.
  • We know everyone is busy, but make time to be available while your kids are working on homework.

Should Your Teen Play Fantasy Football?

As school starts and the fall season is fast-approaching, Fantasy Football is coming into full swing, and many students are playing. So what is it?


So what is fantasy football?

You select your own team of players, setting a lineup every week. Then, you watch as they run, pass, catch and score touchdowns, all of which are worth fantasy points.

Every week, you are matched up with someone else in your league, and whoever has the most fantasy points that week, wins!

At the end of the “fantasy season,” there are also usually playoffs to crown the winner of the league.


Benefits of fantasy football for teens

  • Kids can learn executive function and problem-solving skills playing fantasy football.
  • Academic skills such as math and reading are also routinely used in fantasy football.
  • Fantasy football can be an engaging way to leverage technology use into a family activity.
  • It can lead to connection if you do it as a family or if they play with friends.


Things to consider before your teen plays fantasy football

  • Encourage teens to play with people they know and not join random leagues.
  • Make sure you are monitoring their interactions with strangers.
    Any online platform can be used to groom kids to participate in other activities. It’s vital that you know who they are talking to and have honest conversations about the potential dangers. Help them understand that you never really know who you are talking to and they reality of sextortion and kidnapping.
  • Have conversations around money and gambling.
    Many leagues have a “buy in” at the beginning of the season so that the winners get money at the end. Gambling, including microbetting and sports betting is highly addictive, especially if they win. So use this as an excuse to start a conversation about it.


Fantasy football can be a great way to connect with your teenagers.

Ask about their team; ask about trades; watch games with them on the weekend; and cheer for their players! The more you get excited about things they are excited about, the more trust and connection you can build.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about home-school partnerships and fantasy football

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About Us

Chris Robey

Chris Robey


Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

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8 Tips for Better Parent/Teacher Communication

8 Tips for Better Parent/Teacher Communication

My whole life I have been in or near a classroom. Both my parents are retired educators. My wife is a current educator (thoughts and prayers). A lot of my friends are educators. I am a former educator. So when I tell you I know a thing or two about teachers and education, I promise it’s not lip service.

Since I left my teaching career to come work for Teen Life, I’ve found out one thing is crystal clear:


When emotions are high, parent-teacher communication can be a minefield leading to really damaging conversations. Below are just a few reminders for teachers AND parents on communicating with each other.

This first part is for the teachers.

Teachers, I know that little Johnny has used up all his tokens of grace. I know that you are being asked to move mountains while juggling chainsaws with a smile. But hear me out.

  • REMEMBER THE SECOND BACKPACK – one of my former principals (shoutout Shannon Gauntt) used this metaphor during my career and it is perfect. Every person in that building is coming in with a metaphorical second backpack. It could range anywhere from “I didn’t sleep well last night” to “I haven’t seen my mom in a week because she works the night shift”.
  • BE A BEARER OF NOT JUST BAD NEWS – It’s really easy as a teacher to always contact parents when you’re having a behavior issue. Try to balance your conversations with good news and positive interactions as well.
  • CONSIDER THE TIMING – Some parents might be at work when you’re calling. Some may have just gotten off of a long shift. If it’s possible, it might be a good idea to set up a time when they can call you or meet with you and be at their best.
  • AVOID GETTING EMOTIONAL – This is pretty self explanatory. It’s kind of like on The Office when Roy comes after Jim. It can escalate quickly. But chances are your school does not have a Dwight Schrute in waiting with a can of mace.

Alright, let’s move on to the parents:

Parents, I know that having these conversations is hard, but here are a few tips for successfully navigating difficult conversations.

  • REMEMBER TEACHERS HAVE BACKPACKS TOO – These last couple of years have thrown everyone into a learning curve they don’t want to be on. Remember to communicate with patience and understanding.
  • THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES – I have experienced this as a parent and a teacher. Johnny may be giving you correct information but it may not be the full scope of the situation. Before you jump to send a scathing email to the administrators, sometimes a simple phone call or email to the teacher can give you perspective on the incident.
  • BE OPEN TO LISTEN – The teacher is with your student more during the day than you and chances are they have a good idea of what they need. It may be hard to hear problematic behaviors about your student but I promise the teachers want what is best for everyone.
  • AVOID GETTING EMOTIONAL – Same as the teachers. No one wants to see the Hulk in these scenarios. Everyone is better off talking to Dr. Banner.

This obviously will not fix every parent-teacher interaction but it’s a good starting point.

Most importantly, remember that life is already challenging enough for our teens. Teachers and parents should be the first line of support for them.

If you model good communication with each other, it will help drive their success in school and the future.


For more from Teen Life on School Communication, listen to episode 21 of the Teen Life Podcast: School Communication & Acronyms or episode 39: Athletics & Monetization of YouTube (coming January 25).

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Tobin graduated with a Bachelors of Music from Texas Tech University. A teacher’s kid twice over, he taught for 13 years before coming to Teen Life. His entire career has been centered around helping students and teens from all walks of life become the best version of themselves