What Teachers Secretly Wish They Could Tell You
Teaching is hard. Fulfilling and life-changing yes, but also hard. Taking care of that many kids for 40 hours every week with the requirement of them actually learning things at that time….that can be a tall order.
Add in the politics of it all, mandatory testing, continuing education requirements, packed classrooms, long days and sub-par pay….
[2020 Edit: And right now, they’re doing all this from a kitchen table or spare bedroom!]
Well, let’s just say it can get stressful.
And then there are the parents.
Yes, I’m talking about you. About us. The Parents. Well-meaning, but we can be a big pain in the butt at times.
As a teacher and a parent, I know it’s true. It’s practically an epidemic.
You just want your child to succeed at school, right? Of course, you do. You are an involved, invested, hands-on parent. That’s your job and you’re gonna rock it! So you check-in, give feedback, suggestions….dare we say even direction?
Admit it. We all do it.
There are times that the things we do out of love can add to the heavy burden our teachers already carry.
Here’s what your child’s teacher wishes they could tell you (if only they weren’t expected to be so gosh darn diplomatic and agreeable 24/7). Out of love of course. With a dash of desperation for easier days.
8 Secrets Teachers Want to Shout
Yes, your child is special. To you.
You see the sunrise and set in their eyes. They are the love of your life. Their talents endless and their mistakes dismissible. Odds are that in reality, they are probably pretty average. Most people are. Everyone has their strengths to be sure, and likewise, everyone has a weakness or two. If your child is coming home with grades that you don’t think to correlate to the genius status you have assigned them, it’s possibly because they deserve the mediocre marks they get. Not because the teacher is trying to sabotage their invitation to MENSA.
Stop being a superhero.
Seriously stop. Superheroes are for movies, not for parenting strategies. Don’t call your kid in sick because they didn’t study for a test. Don’t rush their homework to them in the middle of the day because they left it at home. And don’t storm in guns blazing because you are convinced they should have been given a better grade on that project that they (you) worked so hard on last week. You’re not doing anyone any favors here. Your child least of all. Letting them experiencing age-appropriate failure and consequence is letting them practice for life. Stop bailing them out. That’s not the real world. Teachers will thank you now and your kids will thank you later.
Please don’t let our next generation survive on a diet of complete crap.
Sure, little Jimmy just loves Capri Sun and GoGurt! But 20 packets of sugar in his breakfast is the reason your “wild man” convulses in his chair for the first hour of school until he finally slips into the catatonic coma of the nutrient deficient. That is, until snack time when he can grab his bag of Doritos like a boss and start the cycle all over again. How can he learn when his physical needs are all out of whack? Help him learn what to do for his body so that he has the best shot of being successful. It makes a difference. (Yes it does.) Try it.
Don’t call them or text the kiddos when they’re at school.
C’mon moms and dads! Think back to the olden days when our parents called the office if they needed to talk to us during school hours. (And how rarely that needed to happen.) Take a cue! It’s difficult enough for teachers and administrators to keep kids away from phones and devices at school without the added issue of their parents being on the other end! You’re inadvertently sending a message that the rules don’t matter. Texts and calls say time in class isn’t valuable. Every text and call says there’s no reason not to interrupt. Don’t be part of that already an extremely prevalent problem.
Teachers know your child in a different way than you do.
No, not better. Just different. Teachers see what students act like with their peers. When you aren’t there. This can be significantly different from the way they act at home or when they know you’re around. If you hear a story from a teacher that you refuse to believe- because you could never in a million years imagine your sweet little girl doing that- reconsider. Admit that you don’t know everything she would or could do. Her teacher has nothing to gain by pretending that she acted unfavorably. There are no kickbacks for calls home. They would rather be doing anything else.
You don’t know how to do a (good) teacher’s job better than they do.
Education has become a free-for-all of uninformed opinions. Everyone feels entitled to speak with authority on teaching and they don’t mind sharing it with their child’s educator. You would never dream of telling your dentist how to perform a root canal, or your electrician how to wire your generator. Why is telling a teacher how to teach any different? Teachers have put time, effort and years upon years of study into their profession. It’s likely that they know how to do it better than you do.
Teachers care about their students.
About your student. They are trying their best every day to make his education all that he deserves. They work long after that last bell rings and there are times they lie awake at night thinking about their classroom. About their students. About how they can help. Aside from you, no one wants your child to succeed more.
Put a lid on it about how lucky teachers are to have summers off.
Thank you. I am not a teacher, but I am the child of one. I remember my mother crying because a family took her to dispute over the "magic wand" she used in her classroom to mediate who was speaking. I spent my summer holidays in her classroom, pulling staples out of walls and scrubbing paint off tables. I remember her spending hours cutting and pasting the kid's artwork so she could create a beautiful display. I remember her being so devoted to those kids. Wanting to give them the best start to school she could, and how she had a meeting with her parents every year to discuss their wants and needs. My mum was an amazing teacher. I have the highest respect for teachers, they carry all the hearts in their hands <3 And anyone who is willing to take my ratbags for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week deserves a gold star, an apple, and all the coffee they want!
I am a parent of a two-year-old, and a tutor of high school kids, and I’ve found this article a welcome reminder of the mistakes a lot of parents can make. I especially liked “Healthy Frustration Breeds Learning and Growth.”
Thanks, Stacey! I struggle with the healthy frustration part… it’s so hard to sit back!
Oh my goodness! Number eight made me laugh out loud! Seriously. I love that one! I also love the one where you say teachers know our children in a different way than we do! I’m experiencing this right now with my middle schooler! She claims her teachers are “mean” aka they make her do her work or don’t allow their students to be on their phones in class! I commend all middle school teachers for choosing to teach, in my opinion, the most difficult age group. Especially nowadays with the attitudes, lack of parental support, and again, their attitudes!!! Thank you for another great article!
Thanks Ashley, I wish I would read these secrets earlier.
Thanks for addressing this out! I really appreciate all the kindness and dedication of my child teachers, especially Jack’s
Sometimes, it gets to the point that I think he likes her more than he likes me.
I am a teacher and this is much what I say to parents. If I may, I would like to print this and share at parent conferences.
Yes, of course! Thanks so much for reading and spreading the message.
I would be honored! Glad that you connected with the piece. Spread the word all you want!
Awsome article Ashley!
I’m a child day care teacher and have seen parents do some of these things. It can be very frustrating. Too bad schools would never post this list in their newsletters.
Thanks, Cheryl!! Wouldn’t it be nice to see schools post information that’s actionable and useful?! Would love to see this passed around 🙂
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for reading Cheryl! Glad to hear it resonated with you. And yes, it’s too bad that in the mission to keep parents as content as possible, we wouldn’t see this shared at most schools! A little honest communication would probably go a long way as I’m sure a lot of parents don’t even realize some of what they are doing can be a burden.
I agree with all of these. I have broken rule 5, though. My 1st grader is bipolar, I swear. Every time I talk to one of his teachers, either last year or this year, they gush about how sweet he is and what a helpful boy he is. His two older brothers bring home behavior reports very close to how they act at home, but he is constantly getting the perfect behavior color on his calendar. I just look at the teacher and ask if she’s talking about the right child. then I ask him why can’t he behave like that at home. I guess being away from his brothers for a bit is good for him. Lol
Totally know how you feel! This happens all.the.time with our family. It’s amazing how quickly children (even babies!) learn expectations. The teacher would never tolerate some of my daughter’s actions at home, and her babysitter looks at me like I’m crazy sometimes.
It’s all in the follow through, I think. I’m working on it! 🙂
Thanks for reading
The teacher in me is cheering. Spot on!
Teachers rock! 🙂
Haha! Thanks Nicki! Glad you liked it!
bang on! I love every point with the explanation behind it.
sad state of affairs that this article has to be written.
your kid is busy learning to become a self-sufficient adult, help kiddo have a real meal before the day starts and leave the phone at home.
Thanks for the support!
I think we’ve been pretty lucky to have some really amazing teachers for my kids. Found myself nodding at every point.
That’s so great to hear, Liz! Thanks for taking the time to share your appreciation of your kids teachers. I hope they see this post 🙂
Thanks, Jesse! Blair brought up some fantastic points. I love #4!