Top 10 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know

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One of the most crucial relationships in education isn’t between a teacher and a student – it is between a teacher and a child’s parents. This partnership is key for helping a child succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Here are the top 10 things that we teachers desperately want parents to know:

1. There are two sides to every story, so don’t always take your child’s word for what really happened. 

Perspective is a tricky thing. If your child comes home and tells you about an incident at school, we welcome communication that is questioning instead of accusatory. A “Can you provide more insight into what happened at lunch today between Tommy and Brian?” will get you a lot farther than “My precious Tommy cannot be around that bully Brian at any time!” Please know that your child’s version of the story may be a bit different from a third party’s version. 

2. Don’t always bail your kids out.

Did your child forget his or her sweater? Lunch? Homework? PLEASE DO NOT BRING IT TO THEM. Our goal is to create resilient, responsible children. We can’t possibly do that if your child knows that mom or dad will always swoop in and save the day. Don’t be the lawnmower parent. Be the parent that is equipping their child will the skills to succeed in the future. 

3. We don’t always agree with school policies.

Is there a certain rule you find completely asinine? Chances are, we feel the same way. Keep in mind that we have virtually no say in the rules put forth by regulation. You can complain to us about it, but we can’t verbally say that we agree. Just know that we are probably screaming internally with a “YAAASSSSS QUEEN” when you go on a rant about some dumbass regulation.

4. We want nothing more than to create a partnership with you so you can follow through at home. 

We only have your child for 7 hours a day. We want to make sure that what we do at school is re-enforced with your child at home and vice versa. Our goal is the same: to create and nurture the best possible version of your child. We can only do that if you follow through at home based on the feedback you hear from us at school. If we would like you to have a conversation with your child about appropriate classroom behavior, please help us out and do so. Following up is a crucial step in seeing real growth from our students. 

5. We work really hard to challenge/nurture/support your child.

We are trained professionals who are tasked with modifying lessons to meet the needs of each and every student in our class. Please trust that we know exactly where your child is and where we want to take them. 

6. Your children are sponges and pick up on everything you do, including your level of respect for us.

Nothing gets past these kids! They constantly pick up on what you say and do, including how you talk about us at home. If we want our students to respect authority figures, it is important that parents model this behavior first. We both have to be on our best behavior when it comes to these kids, as they notice everything!

7. Your child’s health and well-being come before anything else.

If your child is ill, please keep them home! Don’t worry about making up lots of work when they return. Your child’s well-being is always our first priority.

8. We love when you are involved in your child’s life, but there is a certain balance. 

We want you to show up to conferences and respond to our emails. However, we don’t like it when you show up unannounced during our lunch break to yell at us for following school rules. We are looking for some middle ground between being a no-show parent versus a helicopter one. We understand how tricky this balance can be and we are here to help! All we ask is that you communicate with us when need be and you respect us enough to trust what we are doing. 

9. We love what we do and we love your children.

We went into their grueling profession to change lives and shape the next generation. We aren’t out to get anyone and we certainly don’t hate small children. Even if you don’t agree with us, please know that we always have the best intentions when it comes to your child. We can’t think of anyone else we would rather spend our long days with! 

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Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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