Tuesday, August 30, 2011

By Request: Advice From A Teacher

A friend from high school, who is a single dad with two daughters, asked me if I might write down some tips/advice for parents from a teacher's perspective weeks ago.  I then went back to work and I have had trouble stringing together two coherent thoughts since.  We know that the media sometimes gets things wrong, but it seems when it comes to education and teachers, in particular, they don't ever get close.  Teaching is not for the faint of heart.  I've seen things over the years that make me laugh upon remembrance, and had situations that can still make me cry.  I know that their are people in the field of education who have no business being there, but that is not the majority of us.  If you have come up against one of these "bad apples,"  I apologize.  But, please know that most of us are hardworking, amazing people who are doing as much as we can with whatever we have, and that seems to be a little less every year (thank you, politicans.  A rant for another time.)  After some consideration, here's what I've come up with.
  • Relax! - To become a teacher, you have to pass four years of college and a battery of tests (at least in my state).  Generally, we know what we are doing and we want to do the best for your children.  The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your child will be.  (Especially in the lower grades.)  And that will help everyone in the long run.
  • The easiest thing we do all day is teach.  --  We are nurses, custodians, computer techs, secretaries, librarians, and a million other things during the day.  (Personally, I teach in a middle school setting which means that I don't have one classroom of kids, I have seven.  Sometimes I forget what I'm doing on the trip from my desk to the board.)  Sometimes the nicest thing you can do for a teacher is just a simple word of thanks.  We don't get to hear it nearly enough. 
  • Remember that teachers are human, too.  --  We make mistakes.  When this happens, it helps if we can all discuss it calmly.  Chances are, we will be apologetic and do our best to make it right.  In my almost ten years of teaching, I've never been upset by someone correcting an error when it was addressed with an understanding that I am never out to hurt or upset a child. 
  • There are two sides to every story.  --  Teachers know that you are the advocate for your children.  We wish more parents wanted to be involved.  But, please remember that your sweetheart could only be sharing a glimpse of the whole story.  Stand up for your child, but at least be open to what everyone has to say. 
  • Know that most teachers love what they do. -- Our profession gets a bad reputation because of those who teach for June, July, and August.  But please know that most of us are there because we love it.  And because we love your children.  If you have a question, ask.  If you have a concern, tell us.  I would always rather a parent ask me than wonder.
I know that there are several teachers who read this blog and I would love for you to add your tips to the list.  I love the field of education and firmly believe that barring a lottery win, I will do it for the rest of my years. 
(And probably even if I did win.  We could totally have class on the beach, right?)


  1. Great post!
    I wish this was mandatory reading for all parents :-)

  2. @Kaye

    Thanks! Feel free to recommend it! :)


Comments make my day! Leave me one here...