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I love this time of year! The smell of freshly sharpened pencils; new, unmarred notebooks and crayons; and the squeals of delight each time my toddler sees a school bus make me giddy. It is back-to-school time, and like every year, that also means getting to know a new teacher.
Oprah.com recently ran an article titled “10 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know”. It’s a decent list, but I was disturbed at how elementary it was. The list was three sections: “Respect the Teacher, Be Involved, and Be Organized”.
I was a little flabbergasted that parents need to be told that the teacher is on their side and to avoid unannounced meetings. And, of course, parents should be reminded to “Address behavior issues at home.”
I understand that there are some parents who treat school like daycare. Some parents probably break all of these “rules”. But really, are these parents reading this article? Not likely.
Then there are parents like me, who short of being organized at home (and joining the PTA) does a pretty darn good job of being a parent to a school-ager. I don’t need to be reminded to communicate with the teacher, to check homework, or to have a nightly routine of homework and reading. That’s just what I do. I’m sure it’s the same way with teachers. Some are great, and some are just hanging on.
I have yet to see my daughter have anything but an awesome teacher, so my list of what teachers should know is for every teacher:
• Trust my feedback. You may have taught hundreds or thousands of children in your tenure, but you have never taught my child. I am not a college-educated teacher or psychologist. I am an expert in only one thing: my children.
• Just because I don’t do classroom parties or the PTA doesn’t mean I’m not an involved parent. I’ll be involved where it counts, not when it’s an opportunity to show off to other parents.
• I don’t need every scrap of paper my daughter touches to be sent home. I assume the school has plenty of trashcans; please use them liberally.
• I have higher standards for my child than you do. Try to change that.
• You aren’t just preparing her for the next grade; you are on the team helping to prepare her for life.
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com