I used to love helping out in my daughters’ classrooms when they were elementary age. I think many parents do enjoy it. I loved watching the teachers work and I loved helping the children. I also probably overextended my welcome on some occasions, too! But throughout the years I developed close relationships with many of their teachers, and I have had the opportunity to speak with many that weren’t their teachers over the years. Speaking one-on-one with them gave me an idea of what each would possibly say if they could really talk to parents!
- I am going to love and protect and teach your child, but it is impossible to love him or her as much as you do. He or she is very special, but you have one or two children, I have 20 – 30, but I promise I’m going to do the best I can, and from past experience, you may be impressed by the end of the year. And, you really don’t have to critique my every move or offer your constant advice for improvement. Though I appreciate your input when needed, it is a valuable trait that I did go to school to learn how to teach children.
- I know your children loves playing with his or her favorite toy when he or she is at home, but this is school. Toys must be kept at home, because just think – if every child brought their favorite toy to school every day, how much time would that take out of their educational hours for me to tell them to put it away? And please, I’m already considered a bad guy most of the time, it’s okay for you to be the bad guy, too. Don’t always put it on me to tell your child, “No toys allowed in the classroom, other than on designated sharing days.”
- Please talk to me. Help me understand why all of a sudden your child is misbehaving or not doing his or her homework. Without sharing too much intimate details, it’s okay to tell me in confidence that you and your spouse are having marital difficulties and one has moved out of the home. That you’re expecting a new baby or an aging relative that snores loudly has moved into your home. That you have returned to work or changed jobs or the other parent is working longer shifts. Help me not only read between the lines, but see between the lines, as well, so I can be the best teacher I can to your child.
- An apple a day does make me feel better! Being acknowledged, even with a homemade card brings a smile to my face. A few cookies given to me after school means the world to me. Just thinking of me, the person that spends so many hours a week with your child, in such a kind way makes my heart smile. I do deeply appreciate it.
- We can work together to help build common courtesy manners with your child. Encourage them to say thank-you, please, and you’re welcome, not only to adults, but to other children, also. Help them see that bullying and rudeness is wrong. But please don’t yell at me if I try to do this. My classroom runs more smoothly when the children are kind to each other, and kind to me. So it does help to know you are encouraging them, too, because it won’t work if only I am encouraging kindness and respect. You and I, we're a team!
- Figure out a way to label all your children’s items she or he brings to school – pencils, crayons, markers, backpacks, and notebooks. It makes it easier for the child to spot what is his or hers.
- It’s okay to say goodbye to your child, and leave. I know it’s hard when they’re upset you are leaving them, especially in Preschool and Kindergarten, and even First Grade, but it really is easier and less confusing if you will give them a goodbye kiss, and leave – not linger. I promise they will be okay, and if not, I will call you.
As parents, we all want our child to be at the top of the teacher’s list, but where we want that list to come down in a column with our child’s name near the top, the teacher must keep that list in a long horizontal row, treating all children the same. And, I heard that they deeply appreciate parents making an after-school appointment with them to share any concerns you may have with them or their teaching style. Many were sad when parents would run to the Principal’s office or discuss what they deemed wrong to other teachers and parents before speaking to them first. After meeting, if you still see fit to speak to the Principal, then so be it. As a parent, that is certainly is your right to do so.
These are just tidbits of advice. We, as parents, know that parenting is a learning process, and when parents and teachers, and Harry Pierre & PeTunia :) come together with the same goal – encouraging children to love themselves and others while learning new things and using their imagination – it’s a beautiful thing!