Three weeks ago, I wrote an EP blog about what teachers wanted parents to know at the beginning of the school year. My message was to encourage parents to try to stay out of the way, as your child and teacher settles into the new school year together. I wrote the blog because I taught for eleven years and because I still teach teachers. However, the teacher hat is not the one I wear most days. My most important job is parenting our two grade school boys. My oldest child has special needs and is often a daily challenge to parent.
At school, he is fairly well behaved and on task. I try not to call the school very often. However, like many of us, I am an involved parent. In order for me to keep tight boundaries on my oldest, I need more information from teachers and the school. He also has ADHD, and needs more help with organization. Therefore, I admit, I sometimes feel the teachers think I am overdoing it. However, it does prompt me to say there might be 5, 10, (or 50!) things we want teachers to know about parents like us. Here are my top five. What are yours?
1. We call because we do care. We would rather know what happened at school than not. We do want to know what Junior is saying, doing, and thinking. It really helps us anticipate and prevent future problems.
2. We did check the backpack, assignment notebook, and online homework. Unfortunately, the teacher still might not have it. Why? We just never know. We saw the books go back into the backpack. We signed the permission slips, twice. It is a mystery how the homework, gym clothes, and library books cannot be located until our children have already left for school.
3. When you call to tell me about my child’s behavior and a subsequent incident or consequence, I have already talked to them about that behavior fifty times prior. We need more help from the school, more details, more assistance, and more tight boundaries. We already know what we are battling; we want your help. Talking to them is NOT enough.
4. We struggle after school. We really wish we knew why. Is it because our children kept it together all day? Because someone was mean to him or her? Because they never understood half of the lessons? Because the homework is too confusing? Because we are safe havens? Either way, we parents take the brunt of our children’s frustrations after school.
5. We share your hopes and beliefs in our children. When a table full of teachers at an IEP meeting all say they see a great kid, we are buoyed. We know that he’s a great kid. He lives with us. We realize at that moment the hard work we are doing with our children is working. We thank you. Without you, we would not be here.
I am grateful for the teachers who have taught my children. I do wish they knew these facts about me. I wonder what else teachers should know about parents like us?