The school year is upon us! The stores are filling their back-to-school bins, and the children are anxiously picking out their backpacks. As a public school teacher, this time of the year meant that I was preparing for the new year ahead of me and was nervously getting my classroom ready for my 20 fresh-faced kiddos to walk through the door.
I know that parents can sometimes feel anxious and hesitant as the school year starts. However, you should know that we love your children, and we want them to succeed! There are so many things that your child’s teacher wants to tell you, and there are so many things that we want you to know!
Here are my top 6 things that your child’s teacher wants you to know:
1. The start of school is an exciting and crazy time for your student and for us!
The night before school I do not sleep. I am always thinking, “Am I as prepared for this year as I need to be?”, praying for the year- yes, MANY teachers pray for your students on a daily basis, and worrying, “Am I going to be good enough for all of my students this year?” We have been in trainings for at least a week before school starts for the students and most of us spend summers in trainings, cleaning up/working in our rooms, and researching new ways to be the most effective teacher we can be for our 20+ students!
2. The first meeting we have is all about remembering your student’s name and face!
We really do want to know everything and anything that will help us in making your child’s experience the best it can be. BUT – the first day/meet your teacher isn’t the best time to verbally tell us. Honestly, we won’t be able to remember. We are working hard to remember 20 other names of students, and trying to settle the nerves of students who are unsure about starting school. PLEASE email us, type out a note, or fill out the forms your teacher gives you (I have a get to know you page) to fully express your thoughts and concerns—we do recognize that you know your student best! There is just a TON that goes into the start of school behind the scenes. It will be better retained if there is a written form of some sort for us to go back and read at night!
3. We really have your student’s best interests at heart, as well as the other 20+ in our class.
This is a “biggie” for me. I want my parents to know that their student is as important to me as they are to them. I, like many teachers, take everything home with me. When I get home I am still reliving the day, talking to my husband and asking him, “Do you think I did this right, or how could I have done this better?” My yearly goal is that each student will love learning and feel safe in my classroom. Our college training, classroom experiences, and continuing education are all factored into how we help your child.
PLEASE trust us. We work hard at what we do and we pour our souls into it. Trust me, if the conversation we are having is uncomfortable for you – it’s the same for us. Teachers often have to tell you things you don’t want to hear about your student, or things that are hard to hear. There have been many nights that I lost sleep because I know how hard it is to hear for the parent. That being said, if you have an issue or disagree with what we are doing PLEASE do not let your child know. Your child will take on your thoughts and frustrations, and it will add to the difficulties in the classroom. Please contact us. Let us know of your concerns, thoughts, or frustrations, and we will do everything we can to improve the situation.
4. We are HUMAN, we WILL make mistakes.
As a perfectionist myself, this one is hard. I want to be perfect all the time. Of course, I want your student to have a perfect experience and to learn as much as possible in my class. I want you as the parent to have a perfect experience. That being said, we have a saying in my classroom: “If you can’t make a mistake, you can’t make anything.” There have been many times that a return phone call, email or something I have told a parent has been forgotten. It’s not because we don’t care. Often there are last minute meetings called, or our families at home have something come up. Please be patient with us. Treat us the way you would want us to treat you. Gently remind us what we have forgotten.
5. When teachers ask for help, we really do want it.
Whether it is through donations to the classroom or time/help in the classroom – if we are asking for it, we REALLY do want your support and help. I know for my husband and I, we each have a monthly budget of classroom money. Once that runs out, I have to turn to my classroom parents. Parent volunteers=HAPPY HAPPY Teachers (especially when it comes to field trips ☺ )!!
6. Please respect our off time.
Teaching is a very tough job. It exhausts you mentally, physically, and emotionally. There are days that we just need to leave school and have time to recharge. I know many people think, “You have summers, Spring Break, Christmas Break – how could you be exhausted?” Well, most teachers show up an hour or two before school starts and we stay one to three hours after the day ends to prepare for the next day/week. Also, we come up at least one day on the weekend. All of this pulls us away from our family and lives outside of school. Some days we need to get home right after school and won’t have time to return that email or phone call. We will get to it, I promise. But know that sometimes things come up last minute – both school and home related.
Are you a teacher?
What do you want your student’s parents to know?