Dedicated to my amazing co-teacher who loves her kids, works her ass off, and doesn’t get told enough how awesome she is.
I’ve never posted anything personal, but over the past year, my peers and I have noticed some interesting/infuriating trends in how parents and families interact with their child’s teacher. As a result, I give you:
HOW TO GET ALONG WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER
1. We work for your kid- not for you. Your kid’s teacher is not your employee.
2. Classroom = Office. Imagine someone barging into your office unannounced, demanding a meeting with you that very second. You’d be pissed, right? Although it might not look like it to you, a classroom is a teacher’s office. If you walk in during class, that’s the equivalent of interrupting a meeting. Make an appointment.
3. A teacher does not a babysitter make. Please don’t call or e-mail your child’s teacher asking them, “Please hold little Joey after school because I’m running late,” unless you’d like to start paying us an hourly rate.
4. Trust us. Granted, there are a lot of batshit crazy teachers out there who are jaded and probably hate going to school every day, but the MAJORITY of teachers love their kids and look forward to seeing them every day. There is a reason we devote our lives to working with youth. If we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t do it.
5. Communicate effectively. Do you like receiving work-related calls and e-mails past 5 pm? Neither do we.
6. Teachers have lives too. I remember being a kid and thinking that my teachers lived at school, and the first time I ran into my teacher at the grocery store was like discovering a unicorn. Our job isn’t over when the bell rings, we take our work home, literally and figuratively. When our students struggle, we take on the emotional toll. It is perfectly acceptable to expect excellence from your kid’s teacher, but remember that we have family, friends, and hobbies too!
7. Teachers and families are a partnership. We are not working against you, we are working WITH you. If we ask for a meeting to discuss your child’s behavior or academics, it is because we care and want your child to improve. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t bother asking for a meeting.
8. BOUNDARIES!!! This isn’t really about communicating but just an observation: Stop trying to be friends with your kid. It is important that your child understand the boundaries between the parent-child relationship AND the teacher-student relationship. Having a conversation with your kid about their actions is always important, but stop feeling guilty about drawing the line.
9. Share the love. If you think your child is part of a positive, nurturing, learning environment, let your teacher know! (We don’t get it very often)
10. Be empathetic and understanding. You know your kid is awesome. We know your kid is awesome. But we also have 24 other awesome kids that deserve equal attention.
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