I read with some (okay, much) trepidation, What teachers want to tell parents, on CNN Living. We’re only weeks into the new school year and I’ve already done more than my fair share of correspondence with my sons’ teachers.
I have to say I feel like I follow all of Ron Clark’s (Disney’s American Teacher of the Year and one of Oprah’s faves) suggestions in the article, regarding how parents should consider their child’s teacher. But I do have some words of my own of what I think parents want to tell teachers.
1. We are parents not pros.
For many teachers, they know this age and grade well. Parents, not so much. For me personally, it’s my first time having a fifth grader. I’ve never done this before and I don’t know what to expect and also? what I am doing. I’m new to this. You probably aren’t. Can you cut me a little slack? I promise to do the same.
2. Trust us.
I know my child. I have raised him and I also want the best for him. There is a lot of stuff too personal to share with you, and so I just hope that you take that into consideration and understand when you might not really be able to see the whole picture. We all have our own stories. And I know that also includes your own, too.
3. Please quit making me feel like I need to give excuses.
Sometimes I feel like there are so many things expected of us parents (like volunteering, chaperoning, fundraising, homework-signing and website checking) that I have no choice but to say no or give an excuse why I can’t be involved (or why I didn’t see that note you sent home). And it makes me feel incredibly guilty and overwhelmed. I do realize that if you had the choice you probably wouldn’t push those things on parents anyway. But, I don’t want my conflicts in schedule to make it appear like I’m not interested or not wishing I could do more.
4. Be a partner, not an accuser.
Don’t assume that all parents are the same, that we are judging or complaining about you, and that we’re going to be defensive about our kid’s behavior or your grading system. Just give us a chance and you’ll see that we (well, the majority of us) are totally in this together and want what is best for our kids.
5. Thank you.
Truly, I can’t imagine what it’s like to put your heart into these kids’ lives every day and then you have to send them home to who knows what. You’re doing an awesome job with my child. I’m so proud of him– even with his struggles– especially through the struggles. Thank you for all that you do.
One last (personal) one: My son really does have more shirts and pants. He just insists on wearing the same over and over. I wash them every day (or every other day.) I really might email the teacher about this one!
What do you really want to tell your kid’s teacher?