With all the rules and regulations governing today's school systems, it's sometimes hard for parents and teachers to have frank and honest conversations. It's hard on parents, but there are things teachers wish they could say to parents, too.
It's been a while since I've been behind the teacher's desk in the classroom, but in solidarity to my dedicated in-the-classroom teacher friends, I'm sharing some of the things we wish we could say to parents.
1. "Dealing with parents is sometimes more difficult than working with students." Margaret H., the Circle of Moms member who made this statement is both a mom and a teacher. She, like most teachers, knows there are bad teachers out there, and sometimes it's the teacher who is the classroom bully. Still, she hopes parents can learn to trust teachers more.
Most teachers really want to build a good partnership with parents, one that benefits the kids, but we're human. We get defensive when parents automatically assume we're the enemy.
2. "The 'I wish I had a job that gave me June, July, and August off' comment gets old, fast." When I was teaching, June was a time for recovery, July was a month to make plans for the next school year, and August was spent reading student files and preparing the classroom for the Fall. That is, when I wasn't teaching Summer school.
Teachers report they spend their Summers doing everything from working Summer jobs to pay the bills to teaching Summer school to cleaning up their classrooms to set them up for the next year!
3. "Parents do not understand that their child isn't the only one in the classroom at one time." To me the sign of a true teacher is what teacher Bethany H. said after making this statement. She said that she tries to see things through the eyes of a parent, because she too is a parent. She wonders what she would think if she was afraid her child's needs weren’t being met.
Please believe us when we say we know how important your child is to you, but that we want you to remember that to us, he's one of a classroom full of important children.
4. "So much emphasis is placed on testing that we forget why we are really there." Many teachers agree with Cherie R.'s comment and, like parents, are concerned about the lost teaching time that comes with preparing kids for standardized and standards-based testing. We don't want your child to feel stressed out and testing stresses out us, too.
Even teachers like a Circle of Moms member named Catherine, who believe testing is important in teaching kids to "think under pressure, problem solve, [and] use deductive reasoning," don’t think it should be the sole measure of a child's success.
5. "The truth is we are overworked, underpaid, [and] frequently disrespected." Though what Suzette S. says is in many cases true, we know parents can't do anything about the workload or the pay. As teacher-mom Cat B. explains, we continue to teach despite these challenges because we love what we do.
As for the respect issue, I agree with mom Jennifer V. who says it's a "give-and-take thing." As teachers, we can't expect parents and children to respect us if we don't show them respect, too. So, if you think we're being disrespectful, heed teacher Amy T.'s suggestion to talk to the teacher first.