15 Things Your Child’s Teacher Wants you to Know

The pencils are sharpened, the notebook paper bought, the folders labeled. It’s that time of year again. As a parent and an educator, I’ve experienced both the ‘Woo Hoo, it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ side and the ‘Sigh, it’s time to go back to work’ side. I’m fortunate in that I have a glimpse into both worlds. At this time, as we head back to school, I’m going to tell you what your kids’ teachers would like you to know.

  • A TEACHER’S DAY DOESN’T END AT THE BELL 1 of 15
    A TEACHER'S DAY DOESN'T END AT THE BELL

    A teacher's workday doesn't end just because the bell rings. Teachers put in hours before and after school, they stay to coach softball, and work on the spring musical. They attend meetings every week. They tutor kids who are struggling and they participate in parent/teacher conferences. They grade papers in the evening and create lesson plans on the weekends.

  • TEACHERS SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR KIDS THAN WITH THEIR OWN 2 of 15
    TEACHERS SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR KIDS THAN WITH THEIR OWN

    Many teachers spend more time in the classroom with your kids than their own. They get to know and care for your children over the school year. Which brings me to my next point . . .

    image: morguefile

  • TEACHERS WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THEM 3 of 15
    TEACHERS WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THEM

    We get it. No parent wants to get that phone call home from a teacher who is having trouble with their child's behavior. But believe us when we call to discuss a problem. Don't automatically cloak yourself in the 'my child can do no wrong and I will protect him like a mama bear' mentality. It doesn't help anyone. We spend a lot of time with your kids. We know what's going on at school. We want to help and make the situation better for everyone. Work with us.

  • TEACHERS SPEND MORE THAN TIME ON YOUR KIDS 4 of 15
    TEACHERS SPEND MORE THAN TIME ON YOUR KIDS

    Teachers spend a LOT of money out of their pockets to make their classrooms warm, inviting learning environments for your kids. They spend money on supplies and incentives. As schools tighten budgets, teachers are forced to take on more and more of a financial burden to make sure every student has what they need to succeed.

    image: morguefile

  • TEACHERS WORK DURING THE SUMMER 5 of 15
    TEACHERS WORK DURING THE SUMMER

    Yes, teachers have the summer off from school, but they still work. Most of my teacher friends work a second job in the summer (and some work a second job year-round). Some teach summer school, some tutor, some wait tables. When they aren't working, they're going to training and development. In their spare time, they're searching Pinterest for bulletin board and classroom ideas. They're scouring the web for ideas on implementing curriculum in unique and engaging ways. They share ideas on handling those kids with special needs and behavior issues because teachers want every single one of their kids to learn and will do whatever they can to ensure that outcome.

    image: morguefile

  • LET YOUR KIDS MAKE MISTAKES 6 of 15
    LET YOUR KIDS MAKE MISTAKES

    Making mistakes is part of the learning process. It is not a bad thing. It's okay to make mistakes. Don't fix every problem for your kids. Let them learn from their mistakes. When you daughter gets a detention for cheating do not swoop in and blame the teacher for leaving the test sitting on her desk. Your kid made a mistake. It happens. Let her learn from in instead of "rescuing her" and, in the process, setting her up for a lifetime of problems.

    image: morguefile

  • TEACHERS ARE NOT THE ENEMY 7 of 15
    TEACHERS ARE NOT THE ENEMY

    Teachers are not "out to get you". Teachers do not delight when your child earns a poor grade. We do not think, "Aha! You fail! I win!" It is our job and our personal mission to make sure every student learns. We do not give them grades; they earn their grades. Teachers want your children to succeed and most will bend over backwards to help them attain that goal.

  • TEACHERS HATE STANDARDIZED TESTS TOO 8 of 15
    TEACHERS HATE STANDARDIZED TESTS TOO

    I don't think there's a teacher out there who wants to give your child a standardized test every month. Teachers would rather be doing something like, oh I don't know - teaching! Unfortunately, it's not the teachers who make up the rules on this one. People who know far more about education (tic) make those determinations. Teachers understand that success shouldn't be defined by standardized test scores, but our hands are tied by a less-than-perfect system.

    image: flickr

  • TEACHERS DO WAY MORE THAN TEACH 9 of 15
    TEACHERS DO WAY MORE THAN TEACH

    It would be great if teachers were left to teach, but that's not exactly the way it works. Teachers have an overwhelming amount of work to do behind the scenes. Teachers speak another language consisting of things like common core, Marzano, IPDP, IEPs, 504s, PLC meetings, staff development, PARCC, ELA, lesson plans, Achieve 3000, rubrics, Edmodo, Progressbook, FCAT, deliberate practice, reciprocal teaching, and on and on and on. They have meetings and training weekly, they create lesson plans that must fit a crazy amount of criteria, they grade assignments, they must make sure every single child is learning on their level in classes that are sometimes way over capacity. It isn't easy.

    image: morguefile

  • TEACHERS AREN’T IN IT FOR THE MONEY 10 of 15
    TEACHERS AREN'T IN IT FOR THE MONEY

    The average salary of a professional basketball player was $5.15 million in 2010-2011 as stated on NBA.com. According to the NEA, the national average starting teacher salary for 2011-2012 was $35,672. That was the average which means many made much less than that. I don't understand a world that values its athletes and movie stars more than its teachers, firemen, policemen, and military personnel. But that's just me. At any rate, people do not decide to teach because of the paycheck or the glory. They do it because they are called to make a positive difference in countless lives.

    image: morguefile

  • DON’T GO OVER YOUR TEACHER’S HEAD FOR NO REASON 11 of 15
    DON'T GO OVER YOUR TEACHER'S HEAD FOR NO REASON

    I can't tell you how many times I've seen or heard of a parent calling the principal, the administration at a district level, and even the news to complain about an issue that could have been easily resolved if the parent had simply talked to the teacher. Teachers are human and sometimes make mistakes. If you have a problem with your child's grade, for example, talk to your teacher first. If someone is bullying your child at school, that certainly demands immediate attention, but why not talk to the teacher or guidance counselor first before calling the local news? It seems that teachers live in constant fear of losing their jobs if they do something as heinous as giving the child of a helicopter parent a (gasp!) C- on their algebra test. 

    image: morguefile

  • IT’S YOUR CHILD’S HOMEWORK, NOT YOURS 12 of 15
    THIS IS YOUR CHILD'S HOMEWORK, NOT YOURS

    As a parent, I detest homework. As an educator, I understand its value. It reinforces what was taught in class, it gives the student the practice he needs to master the concepts, and it teaches time management skills that will benefit the student throughout his life. I know it can be tempting to complete your child's homework for him, especially when you get home from work at 6:00, immediately take your son to football, get home and eat dinner at 8:30, and of course you want him to get to bed at a decent time . . . I understand. I've been known to say, "Gee, I hope I get a good grade on that essay" a time or two myself. But believe me, that doesn't do anyone any favors. Instead, find a way to fit homework into your evening. Show your kids that education is as important, dare I say more important, than the extracurriculars we parents like to pile on our kids these days.

    image: morguefile

  • BE INVOLVED WITHOUT BEING A HELICOPTER PARENT 13 of 15
    BE INVOLVED WITHOUT BEING A HELICOPTER PARENT

    Be involved. And by "involved", I mean - introduce yourself to your child's teacher, show up for conferences, know the names of your kid's teachers, have an idea what they're learning in their classes, encourage reading at home, make sure there's a quiet place for them to do homework, get them the supplies they need to be successful. I do not mean, camp out in your child's classroom, call the teacher demanding he change your child's grade, tell your kid's teacher how to do their job, fix all your kid's problems for him, insist his class be changed when he doesn't like his teacher.

    image: morguefile

  • SPEND TIME, NOT MONEY, ON YOUR KIDS 14 of 15
    SPEND TIME, NOT MONEY, ON YOUR KIDS

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard a student tell me, "If I get a good grade on such & such test, my dad is going to buy me an iPod. Or new $100 shoes. Or a phone." These are the same parents who never show up for a parent/teacher conference. Parents, although your kids may beg for the latest gadget, what they really crave is your time and attention. Give it to them while you can. One day (sooner than you think) they're going to be grown and out of the house and you'll have missed your chance to influence them.

  • TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE 15 of 15
    TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

    Teachers teach because they love it. They know that what they do makes a difference. One of my favorite quotes is, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops" by Henry Adams. It's true. I've heard so many stories from my coworkers about students they had years ago who have come back to tell them how much they changed their lives. Countless people are where they are today because a teacher put them on that path to success. It's a pretty cool thing.

     

    image: flickr

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