For those of you who may not know this, I am a teacher. This September marks my 14th school year ~ um, seriously? Wow. Where did that go? I began my career in Chelsea, MA. teaching fifth grade for two years. Then I moved on to the Sudbury Public Schools for five AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL years teaching both fifth and third grade. I spent one year as a reading teacher at Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA and have been an elementary reading specialist in Foxborough for the however many more years that would add up to 13 or 14. I’m a reading teacher people, not a math specialist.
What I do know is this. Teachers work their tails off. Teachers choose this career path because they are the dedicated kind who prefer the intrinsic reward of watching kids learn and make gains each and every day over the big bucks and a cubicle. Being a classroom teacher can be quite challenging when parents are not supportive or appreciative. I miss classroom teaching. I really do. But then I remember the select few (ahem, terrible, whiny parents) who can make a school year a living hell for a classroom teacher. It’s a big ball of wax, teaching.
Want to start the year off right with your child’s teacher? I have ten helpful tips for parents:
- Return paperwork. Return it on time. Don’t lose it. All those papers are important and we need to get them back. Don’t make us hunt you down. (Don’t forget to cut at the dotted line and not send in the stuff that should remain at home!)
- Get your child to school on time. Your child is missing something when they are not present and disrupting others when they are tardy. Make sure they get enough rest and eat a healthy breakfast.
- Be nice. Say please and thank you. Smile at your child’s teacher. Don’t be afraid. We are human.
- Don’t do your kid’s homework. You’ve already done third grade, seventh grade and the rest of it. If your kid is struggling, please let the teacher know. Oh, and don’t do your kid’s projects either. I’ll let you in on a little secret: We actually know when you do the work! It’s quite obvious. SHOCKER!
- Did your child’s first week go off without a hitch? Is he/she all smiles and happy getting off the bus? Send an email or a hand-written note thanking your child’s teacher for a job well-done.
- Send in some antibacterial wipes and tissues. We go through them fast! We love them! We can’t get enough! Oh, and don’t send your kid to school sick ~ especially with pink eye. We really don’t like that one. Oh, and maybe lice too. That one’s a doozie.
- Pick your battles. Lay off sometimes. (This is for more down the road, maybe December, March?) There’s not much difference between a 99 and a 98. We do make mistakes sometimes. Use your judgement. Remember, we are human. It’s only elementary school/middle school/high school. In most cases, no one is going to die.
- Do call us and email us when you DO have important issues worth addressing. Don’t let the issues fester. We like to nip things in the bud. We like parents who are proactive rather than reactive.
- Remember, we typically love your kids. We typically love you too (the majority of you really are wonderful, amazing parents.) If you get your knickers in a twist, and keep twisting those knickers all year long, you suck the fun right of teaching. Try not to do that. It really sucks when we can’t sleep at night because your knickers are all bunched up.
- Volunteer to help out if you can. We love it when you can take on tasks like book orders, laminating, photocopying…ask your child’s teacher how you could help out.
There you have it. Mrs. Stow’s ten steps for a successful school year. What did I miss? Let’s hear some of your wonderful ideas on how to start the school year off right!