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San Angelo Lifestyles

5 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew

Dear Mom and Dad,
Hello! I am your kid’s teacher, and I’m so glad you stopped by at Parents’ Night to meet me. Besides being a teacher, I’m also a parent, so I do understand where you are coming from. We only have a few minutes to go over this flier I made, but if I had time, I’d love to tell you….

1. Communication is key. As a teacher, I’ve often wanted to reach out to parents of a student, and I can’t find them. The email listed is returning void or there’s no response. The phone number goes to voice mail, and I don’t want to leave too much information on a voice mail in which I’m unsure. How can I tell parents that I haven’t seen their daughter in 1st period in several days or that their son is not turning in work and risks failing for the six weeks if I can’t reach them? Always make sure the contact info is current, so we can work as a team to help your kid make it to the finish line. In addition, if you have concerns, sooner is better than later! Call me, email me, show up during my conference time. I’m 100% invested in student success. Call me first—don’t jump over my head and go to the principal. That sets us up as adversaries unnecessarily. Most misunderstandings can be solved in just a few minutes if you contact me. Also, I love to hear POSITIVE communication too – reach out to share what you love and what is working! It will make my day! 

2. Independently check on your kid’s grades and attendance. Most of the time, it’s an easy task—if you don’t know how, reach out. I’ll help you. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve called a parent to talk about grades, and they have no idea. I’ve even been yelled at by a parent because he didn’t know his kid was failing. Yes, it’s my job to touch base with parents, but I have 130 kids to keep up with and generally parents only have a few. If we work as a team, we can often catch problems while they are still small. If we wait until later, it becomes much more difficult.

3. Realize that even the very best kids lie if they are worried about getting in trouble. It’s 100% normal, but remember what your mom used to say, “There are two sides to every story.” Before you find yourself overly upset about something your student says I said or did, please call me. Reach out. Model the kind of behavior you would like to see your kid demonstrate. Do I ever make mistakes? Absolutely. Am I ever wrong? Yes. But at least give me the benefit of a doubt before you call the principal or write a scathing email at 2:00 a.m. 

4. Hold your kid accountable. Many kids come to school with a victim mentality and can make excuses much easier than showing effort. If your child is caught cheating, didn’t turn in their project, skipped class, or some other infraction, let them feel the heat of their transgression. While the moment may be uncomfortable, and as a mom or dad you might want to swoop in and fix everything, try to picture your kid five years from now. In my case, I teach seniors, and they are so close to adulthood they can taste it. They often act out to test those boundaries between childhood and adulthood. Personally, I’d rather see them fail now while you are still very present to help them navigate failure rather than next year when they are in college or the work force or military and there’s no soft place to fall. 

5. Please remember I am not here for the paycheck. I have 130 kids every day in my classroom, and I genuinely care about each one. Each kid comes to school with their own anxieties, learning issues, medical needs, and friend drama. Some of them come to school hungry, or neglected, or have learning disabilities that I am responsible to address, or are gifted students that I’m supposed to challenge. Some have mental problems, and they might scream at me or throw things, or tell their parents things that are not true about my classroom. I spend many, many hours trying to learn the most current technology to keep them engaged in the classroom. I try to reach out to the quiet kid I worry about, and to encourage the kid who’s given up. Sometimes I have angry parents call and I do my best to let them know I’m doing all I can. I love my job, but it’s often very taxing. † 

I wish you knew your kid lights me up. That we have silly moments where we lip synch and talk about current issues and she shows me a drawing she made that blows me away. I wish you knew that your kid, no matter how he might roll his eyes when you speak to him, brags about you to the class. I wish you knew your kid left a sweet note for me when I was having a bad day. 
I wish you knew.
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