What Your Child’s Teacher Thinks But Does Not Say

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Ever wonder what your child’s teacher REALLY thinks about you?

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? 

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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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I love this! It’s true what all these teachers have said. Parents are a big deal and we love to have great parent/teacher relationships! I know sometimes parents don’t want to step on the teachers toes, but the more you, as a parent, communicate with your child’s teacher the better! Teachers aren’t mind readers. They always do their best, but if there is something specific you would like to know or are curious about, ask! I am sure your child’s teacher would love to help 🙂 And as a teacher, I would like to say that parent volunteers are wonderful! It communicates not only to your teacher that you are interested in what your child is learning in school, but it also communicates to your child that you care. Ask your teacher how you can help and they will be more than willing to let you know! Thanks for taking the time to interview those teachers! And thanks to the teachers for being candid 😉

  2. Thanks Noelle for caring about teachers, students, and families. It’s beautiful when the three of us work together as a team. It betters the whole community.
    My perspective is constantly changing as I have taught for the past nine years in 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and currently 6th. Budget cuts can really do a number on teachers moving them around a lot!
    I do have a problem when my students tell me they didn’t have breakfast. It makes me immediately think, “Why not? Too tired? Does that mean that you couldn’t get out of bed this morning because you didn’t go to bed at a reasonable time?” As a parent I feel that if I establish healthy sleeping arrangements and hours (Can’t tell you how many students have told me they sleep with their parents) along with a proper menu on a CONSISTENT basis, I have set a solid foundation to teach manners, character, friendship, you name it. When I neglect the sleep and eating habits, I feel I’m a mess as a mother. This goes the same for teaching it is no different. And please don’t think that one day off is no big deal. Education is on a time clock and teachers can’t waste a day. By the way we don’t set the clock. We are regulated!!!!
    Tracy,
    Volunteers are a double-edged sword in my experience. 90% of the time it is a win win. It’s the 10% that drains and take the life out of you leaving teachers tip toeing around. Yes, we want parents in the classroom, if it betters every student and not just your kid. Many volunteers take their experience outside the classroom sharing negative comments about kids and teachers. Please, if you have a concern when you are volunteering talk to the teacher first. Not the principal or your friends. If your child’s teacher is truly a professional, then feedback can be beneficial when handled appropriately.
    I love teaching, and I love my friend Noelle!

  3. If your kiddo gets in trouble it is not our (the teachers) fault! We are all here to help your child become respectful and responsible people and sometimes that means a consequence. Let’s work together instead of on opposite teams!!

    I totally agree with everything else. Great article! And yes, the number of hours spent outside of school are insane, but I love what I do and when asked how many kids I have, I usually say 24 (1 of my own plus 23 students)!

    We love volunteers, but please be consistent. If you say you can be there Tuesday’s at 10, then don’t call or email Tuesday at 9:45 saying you can’t make it. We typically have stuff we need to get done and waiting until the last minute to let us know you wont be in leaves us hanging. A little heads up is fantastic!

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