What Every Parent Should Know About Their Child’s Teacher

7 comments

Once again, it’s that time of year when parents everywhere walk with a little extra pep in their step. That’s right… school is back in session! My first-born will attend her first day of preschool next week. It’s definitely bittersweet, though. On one hand, I am so excited for her to have the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new things, but on the other hand, this means my little baby is really growing up so quickly! Aside from that, this time of year has me reflecting on my former life as a teacher.

Although I made the decision to make the change to a different career, I would not trade the time I spent teaching for anything. If nothing else, it certainly will help me appreciate my children’s teachers that much more. In fact, there are some things I feel you should know about your child’s teacher. You might even find you appreciate them a little bit more for it.

Teachers are definitely underpaid. One thing is certain, and that is teachers do not enter their profession for the money. There are numerous other careers that offer higher pay. They are there because they truly care about children and want to make a difference in their students’ lives. When I first started teaching, I discovered that someone I knew who worked an entry-level corporate job (with no college degree required) made more money than I did. I have to admit, I found that a bit disconcerting. With teaching comes a great deal of responsibility. They play a huge role with inspiring and shaping the youth who will one day become our doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, political leaders, and, well, you get the point.

Teaching is NOT what it used to be. The main focus of education has become standardized test performance and because of that fact teachers are not allowed the same freedoms they once had with regards to adding their own special creative touch. Of course teachers need to be held accountable for their students’ success, but I also feel that a teacher should be allowed opportunities to teach important lessons that, dare I say it, don’t link to one of the CMT strands <gasp>. I recently saw this really awesome letter written to teachers that really hit home for me and speaks an important truth in a humorous way. Teaching is so much more than test results.

Teachers often end up spending money out of their own pocket on school supplies, decorations, books, etc. for their students and classroom. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor my first year of teaching when I was told what my allotted classroom budget was for the year. Simply laughable. All I can say is that it was a good thing I didn’t have a mortgage or children of my own at the time because I spent a lot of money from my paychecks on classroom necessities.

The number one thing a teacher wants from a parent is a partnership. It is truly in the best interest of the child for a teacher and parent to work together as a team. There may come a time when the feedback you receive from your child’s teacher is not what you were hoping for when it comes to grades or behavior. However, it is important to remember that working together to resolve the problem, and communication, is key. You may not always see eye to eye, but just remember that you both have the same goal; to help shape your child into a successful, responsible, caring, educated individual who will contribute to society in a positive way.

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And so I leave you with this… At some point this school year, maybe during your child’s Open House, or at one of the parent-teacher conferences you attend, or perhaps even on a random day you pick your child up from school, say a special little thank you to your child’s teacher for all they do. I know it will mean the world to them.

7 comments on “What Every Parent Should Know About Their Child’s Teacher”

  1. Many of my family members are teachers or retired teachers. So while I agree with your sentiments, here are some additional things every parent should know: 1) Not every teacher’s personality and educational style is effective with every student. I encourage you as a parent to ask for your child to be assigned to a different teacher if such a change will help your child learn. 2) Teaching certainly is NOT what it used to be and the reality is that while teachers may have gotten into the profession for many reasons, some ARE simply hanging on until they can retire (which is probably later than they ever planned to teach). If a teacher is bored and/or just going through the motions, doing the same thing year after year and teaching the same way (s)he has for 30 years, and/or devoid of enthusiasm, get your student into a different class as soon as possible. 3) If a teacher focuses exclusively on test scores and grades with no mention of actual LEARNING, that teacher has taken his/her eye off the ball. The environment for teachers is harsh right now, no doubt, but you NEED a teacher for your child who can look past the latest fads & trends in education and focus on helping your child LEARN NOW. 4) Listen to your child and respect what (s)he has to say about the teacher, ESPECIALLY in middle school and high school. Kids often have insightful observations that bear a listen. After all, no one in your family spends more time with that teacher than your child. Don’t brush off a child’s perspective or comment simply because it comes from a child.

    1. As an educator I would add a word of caution about requesting a new teacher. Most school administrators will not move a child to a new class because of a personality conflict. As parents, if there are strong concerns about teacher placement the best place to start is the teacher and then a meeting with the principal. Hopefully going through the proper channels will alleviate the concerns. If it doesn’t then by all means to whatever is needed to ensure your child has a successful school year. Most of the teachers who are just coasting towards retirement are known to the administrators as such and are being held accountable.

  2. I’m a high school teacher, and a mother of an almost 1 year old. I know it sounds crazy but getting this kind of information out to other parents a post like this brought tears to my eyes. It’s nice to know that some parents truly understand and appreciate how much we love our jobs and how hard we work for your kids. Trust me we love them, and do all that we can. Thank you for posting this. 🙂

  3. My oldest is starting her first year of preschool next week and I’m so excited for her. Then every once in a while when I really think about it, I’m also really nervous for her. I know she’ll do great – she’s adapts easily, but it still such a new thing. I’m glad she’s got teachers who make me feel confident that she’ll be in good hands!

  4. Excellent list! Teachers rock. It makes me sad though that teaching isn’t what it once was. All the teaching to standardized tests makes me wish I could go the Montessori route but we could never afford it.

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