As a former first grade teacher and now a parent, I have seen both sides of the fence when it comes to schooling. I have said it a thousand times and I will say it again…I would be a much more understanding teacher had I been a parent first! There are SO MANY emotions that are involved when you hand your beloved child over to the care of a stranger and EVERYTHING said about your child (both positive and negative) is taken to heart.
Likewise, however, I think it’s important that parents recognize the growing demands of teachers and give them the respect that is due. Teaching is hard work…and it is getting only harder with all of the budget cuts and increasing class sizes. I’m playing “devil’s advocate” by sharing just a few things that I think parent’s should be aware of as well as sharing some suggestions from teachers who responded to this question on my Facebook page.
What Every Teacher Wants You to Know…But Won’t Tell You:
1. Your respect means the world to me. I truly care about your child and am trying to do my best to make sure that she is learning! Please show your child that you respect me by talking positively about me in front of her and backing me up when there are discipline issues at school.
2. We are a TEAM. We are both working towards the same goal when it comes to your child–helping him learn and be successful! If there is an issue and I share it with you, it does NOT mean that I don’t like your child…actually, it means that I care enough about your child to help him resolve any things prohibiting him or anyone else in my class from learning.
3. If your child is five years old or older, please make sure she knows how to tie her shoes…or buy Velcro shoes. Taking time to tie the shoes of multiple children in my class only takes away time that would otherwise be used for instruction.
4. Please don’t tell me your child is bored. I try to make learning as interesting and engaging as I can and telling me this makes it seem like you don’t think I am doing my job. Many times what might appear to be boredom is often a lack of self-control and/or self-regulation (which typically works itself out with maturity). If we need to work on teaching your child how to cope with down time, what to do if he finishes early, or how he can be challenged, let’s work together and come up with some solutions.
5. I put a lot of work into the parent newsletters that I send home. There is also lots of important information included, so please take just a few minutes to read it and check your child’s backpack every day.
6. Please bring individually wrapped or pre-cut birthday treats that are ready to serve. Trying to cut a cake while 26 (or more) hungry mouths are (not-so-patiently) waiting can often lead to complete chaos. And when you send a snack like applesauce or pudding, don’t forget the spoons!
7. Don’t assume that just because you struggled with a specific subject in school (i.e. math) that your child will as well. Always encourage your child in every subject, not just those that interest you.
8. Let your child make mistakes and try to do things by himself. Don’t rescue him whenever he can’t figure something out. It gives your child a feeling of power and control when he can handle things independently.
9. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest each night. Elementary-school children need at least 10 hours of sleep every night. Don’t overdo it when it comes to extracurricular activities–children need down time just like adults!
10. YOU are your child’s first (and most important) teacher. Trust your instincts. I have your child for 9 months and you have them for their entire lives–don’t underestimate your importance when it comes to your child’s education! Make your home a learning oasis and read to her every day!
You can read more responses from teachers here.