What Teachers Want Parents to Know

10 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know

An interesting article and a good read.  I think I agree with most of them.  ;P And I thought I’d have fun and add a few things I wish my class parents knew…

  1. Be honest with yourself, with the teacher (me), and with your child:  This is so broad so an attempt to expound on it is too big of a task on a blog…but, just like in any relationship (friendship, spousal relationship, co-worker) honesty  saves people a lot of time and grief.  Honesty about your child’s progress, about a program at school, how you are with your child, if you are able to handle your child etc.  (Tactfulness is implied) – To be perfectly honest, an experienced teacher can always detect dishonesty in most cases…
  2. Show you are interested and get involved in your child’s education in a way that you can:  I guess every parent is different in how much time they have depending on what kind of job they have..some jobs require much traveling, some jobs work in shifts…but, I truly believe that no matter how young a child is, they can sense it, if their parents are making an effort to invest in their school life and education.  I know and have witnessed the huge impact this has on the child’s attitude towards school and just their general well-being.  So do it.  Do your best not to travel when it’s your child’s open house or at least volunteer for one of the events or field trips.
  3. Develop a good relationship with me (the teacher):  I see this in the same category as maintaining a friendly relationship with your clients or co-workers in a corporate world.  You may not always like them or agree with them, but living in peace with them  will not only make your life easier but will benefit you.  Whether you agree with the teacher’s style is not an issue.  This is for the well-being of your child.  Your attitude towards the teacher will influence your child’s attitude towards the teacher which will also affect his attitude in class.  Make an effort to use positive language about the teacher and appear supportive of what’s going on in the classroom.  (I hope it is understood that this is different from supporting a teacher who display integral issues.  But, even in that case, I think being discreet and tactful about it will help the child know how to respond appropriately.)
  4. Develop a good relationship with other parents in the class:  I also see this as common sense.  It helps you to be informed of what’s going on and gives you a more whole picture of the classroom as well.
  5. Be concerned for the school as a whole, not just the class your child is in:  I guess this is along the lines of being concerned only for what’s relevant to you in terms of governmental system as opposed to the entire country – its policies, structure/system etc.  The effect might not always be obvious or immediate in the classroom, but the culture of the school and where its headed has a dramatic effect in individual classrooms and teachers for that matter.

I based this on what I would do as a parents and also on what I’ve experienced as a teacher and moments when I thought, ‘I would never do that as a parent,’ or ‘I definitely want to be a parent like him/her.’

There’s always more…so stay tuned.  😉

It’s not her fault…

I have rotten apples and oranges in my classroom.  My students have brought in their science projects after working on them for weeks.  Finally we will have a well-deserved celebration in the fourth grade classrooms.  Most of their science boards, at a glance, are outstanding.

One particular student’s board was getting a lot of attention from the other students.  Not because it was a stand-out but for the opposite reason – because his science board was so poorly done.  I work at an international school where most of the students are paying a ridiculous amount of tuition to be at this school.  Needless to say, these students are aggressively competitive when it comes to education.  So, this student’s (I’ll call him Joe) cardboard cut-out turned science project was a crowd magnet in the morning because no one would dare to risk losing face by doing such an atrocious job on something as important as a science project.  How would he save his face, right?  I felt bad.  I was also very annoyed.  Not with him but with his parents.

I am a huge promoter of encouraging independence.  And throughout the process of this science project, I emphasized to the parents and the students that the parents are only there to help.  I said that all the thinking and doing needed to be done by the students.  But, these students are 9 years old.  I expect some support from parents. Particularly for a student like Joe – who constantly loses things, forgets instructions and has trouble following directions.  The academic hurdles he faces daily, is a whole other story but I was just annoyed with the fact that Joe was left all alone to do this huge project.

I told him to stay in at lunchtime and I got some butcher paper to cover the back of his board and we colored his scribbled drawings to give the board a minor face-lift.  As we were working on this, I asked him if his mom helped him with his project at all.  Joe must have sensed the tone in my voice.  This little guy just said, “Miss A, mom’s busy with my younger brother.  He’s really young and mom needs to spend time with him.”  I got the subtext:  “Miss A, don’t blame my mom.  It’s not her fault.”  And then I just felt bad overall for jumping to conclusions about Joe’s mother.

Parents freely talk about teachers who have disappointed them.  How some teachers have not met their expectations.  Whenever I hear or read about these rants, I always think to myself, ‘If only you knew what we are dealing with in the classroom everyday.’  I think that some mothers may be thinking that way about me right now.  I can’t judge Joe’s mother because I don’t know her story.  My assumption may be right.  But they could be completely off target.  So.  No judgement.