Please help us. The school year is winding down and we know that your kids (and you) get a little burned out on busy schedules and homework. The kids are getting a little squirrely as they count down the days to summer. These are the days we need your help the most, but really, we can use your help all year long, especially these days when it seems like teachers are made out to be the bad guy. We aren’t. We know that maybe you have had a negative experience with a teacher (really, we all have), but please don’t let that one experience sour your view of every single teacher because we know how many awesome teachers there are out there. So how can you help us? Try to see from our perspective and be involved!
- We ALWAYS have your child’s best interests at heart. Really. We spend hours every week trying to figure out how to help your children in collaborative teams with other teachers, or by planning lessons or strategies that will engage the kids, or simply thinking and worrying about those kids we just can’t seem to reach. We care about each child, even those who might get under our skin a little on some days, because on other days they do something that makes us laugh. We want every child to be successful. We will do whatever we can to help your child, but…
- Know that our primary job is to teach your child in school subjects. Of course we will support your efforts as a parent, but we cannot be solely responsible for teaching all children all things like manners, respect, tying their shoes. We will reinforce these skills at school, just like we hope you will at home. For older grades, we’ve all seen the meme that says schools should teach kids basic adult skills, like how to do their taxes or pay bills. We do see the value in a life skills class, but we also believe that it should start at home. None of us probably wants to get that phone call from our college-aged child telling us they suddenly have a whole load of pink clothes after doing their laundry for the first time ever. Show your children these things as you are doing them and help them learn to do it themselves.
- Please contact us, but try not to get carried away. We live in the age that grades go online, so parents can keep up to date on their child’s grades easily this way, but we really do hope you’ll still reach out by calling or emailing or coming to conferences. We are disappointed when only 7 parents out of 75 show up to conferences. We actually do want to meet you and talk about what your child is doing in our class! We appreciate when you stay on top of your kids and their academic achievement because the research does show that parental involvement increases achievement… But at the same time, try not to send an email to the teacher after every assignment is entered questioning why the teacher “gave” your child that grade. Remember, grades are earned by the student, and yes, the teacher will be able to explain that grade, but it can be frustrating if it seems as though we are being accused of giving a child a lower grade just because. Be willing to listen to the constructive criticism your teacher may have for your child for their grades or their behavior. Sometimes parents don’t believe what the teacher is telling them, but don’t forget that we see your child for many hours a day or week and might see some things that you don’t see (both good and bad!).
- Be involved however you can. Believe us, we understand–you’re very busy and you may not be able to be room parent or come to programs during school hours. Many of us are working parents ourselves, and also suffer from the guilt we feel when we cannot be there for our own children. But finding a way to be involved through the PTA or extracurricular activities with your children can give you new a perspective on your child, as well as your child’s teacher. Many of us coach, sponsor, or attend a variety of after school activities to show support for our students because we know that it also builds relationships, and better relationships means better achievement. It seems that sometimes parental involvement in school starts to fade away the older the kids get, because frankly, we’re sure many parents burnout from all the involvement, but we still need that help in the later years! Those of us who coach always need parent involvement in several ways–just ask how you can help!
- Remove privileges at home due to behaviors at school. Although we all hope not, there might be times where your student is falling behind academically or is misbehaving in class. Sometimes a parent is at their wits end and even says to us that they just don’t know what to do anymore and asks for suggestions, so we start to ask questions about how they have dealt with it. All too often we find that the student has their own car, cell phone, video game system, etc. that the parent has not restricted. Nothing brings a kid in more quickly than taking a cell phone away. We always smile a little when the kid says, “I really need to do this because my mom took my cell phone away and I don’t get it back until I get it done.” We know this means you’ve got our back, and you can believe that we’ve got yours on this. We have actually been told things like, “When they are at school, they are your problem.” None of us believe this is an effective way to help a child be successful. We do want to work together to help your child be the most successful they can be, and sometimes, it does mean we both might be seen as the bad guy by your child, just for a little bit. But that is better than trying to work against each other.
In the end, if you want to know how to help us, just ask. If there are things that we can do to help you, just ask. We know that it really does take a village. We are all in this together. We all want to raise bright, kind, respectful and successful citizens who will take care of our future world. Let’s work with each other and not against each other.
Your Child’s Teachers