If you’re like me, you strive to create a healthy partnership with your child’s teacher. And I’ve found, it really is a dance. As parents, it takes understanding our steps to perfect that dance with the educators who dedicate their lives to the noblest of pursuits – empowering tomorrow’s leaders.
Whether you’re the helicopter mama who volunteers at every event, or the hands-off parent who only sees the inside of the classroom on Parent Teacher Conference Day – we all could use a little more information on how we can better serve and support our teachers.
Well, class is in session! Get out your notebook and pen, because this Scottsdale Mom is here to educate you on what goes on in the mind of your child’s teacher.
I interviewed five teachers and asked them to share with me what they REALLY WISH they could tell you on back to school night. I assured them that their answers would remain anonymous, so that they could be candid and you’d still bring them their Starbucks gift cards (Yep, they REALLY do love those!) Here’s what your child’s teacher thinks. Some of their answers may surprise you, some might serve as a healthy reminder, and some might even step on your toes – but I’m just reporting truth. It’s what any responsible journalist would do. 😉
1. No matter how hard you try to disguise your handwriting, we know when you’ve done your child’s homework.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your child is a direct reflection of you and desire to “help” make that reflection the best one possible. Honestly? Homework helps us gauge what information your child is retaining, and what they are missing. Be less concerned with the grade and more concerned with whether or not they are grasping what they are being taught.
2. Your children model you.
When we finally sit down to talk with you one-on-one, your child’s behavior makes much more sense to us! We often find the old saying to be true, “The acorn does not fall too far from the tree.” It’s great to expect them to dress, behave and act appropriately, it’s better to model it.
3. We sometimes judge you based on the lunch you send with your child.
Making sure your child has eaten a healthy breakfast and has a healthy lunch goes a long way! Avoiding high sugar snacks and overly processed foods helps children focus and contributes to an overall healthy classroom environment.
4. Let your kids be kids.
It’s great that you’ve signed your child up to be a part of every possible camp, club, sport and extracurricular activity, but remember that kids need time to explore, learn, get dirty, and play! We see the effects of stress on children whose plates are packed too full – don’t be afraid to take the pressure off and let them enjoy a little unscheduled childhood.
5. We’re actual people with real feelings.
You’ll never know how much time we dedicate outside of the classroom, preparing and planning so your child has an incredible school year. We often sacrifice time with our own families to build an amazing year for your child. (Did we mention this time is unpaid?) So cut us some slack when you realize we’re human, and not perfect.
There you have it, the cold, hard truth. Personally, number 4 is my biggest fear. Armed with this newfound information, I encourage you to march confidently (with plenty of gift cards, of course) into the coming school year, and partner with your child’s teacher for a fantastic year of learning!
Are you a teacher? Do you have anything to add to my list?
Noelle Larson is a mom still searching to find the “balance” between her spiritual journey, family, ambition, inner peace, world peace…all while trying not to blink so she doesn’t miss one minute of her beautiful, messy life. Noelle writes at metromom.org where she journals her crazy days chasing after her kids and husband, deep thoughts, and captures her latest adventures.