Parents and teachers want what’s best for their students.
The problem comes in when we try to define best.
Is it happy and adored by all around him? Or is it buckling down and applying herself?
This lack of specificity simply showcases how vast can become the chasm between parents and teachers when no one can communicate effectively. Which is where the New York Times‘ parenting and moming blog, The Motherlode, comes in. The blog ran a couple of columns last month about what parents want teachers to know and what teachers want parents to know. Not I’m bringing them all together so you can know.
The first thing teachers want parents to know is that their children are more capable than most parents think.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, your children do not need your help tying shoes, zipping jackets, sharpening pencils, packing their backpacks and lunch, or any of the million other tasks they expect you to do for them every day.
In addition, it’s all right to pause a while before giving feedback to your child. Let the little dude figure out on his own if he did something right or wrong. He’s going to need to rely on himself eventually, so help him start out right.
I’ve said before that kids lie. A lot. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Teachers are offering to not believe the little dudette about everything that happens at home, if you parents won’t believe everything she says happens in class.
When your child comes home and claims that the teacher screamed and yelled at him in front of the entire class for his low test score, try to give his teacher the benefit of the doubt until you’ve had a chance to talk to the teacher about it.
These last two seem to go together. Teachers want to remind parents that children learn from what parents do more than what they say. Parents also need to show that making a mistake isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are willing to try new things and recognize it might take a while to get better at them.
On the other hand, parents have a few words for the teachers as well.
For starters, parents want teachers to tell the truth. I know it goes against everything teachers learn about dealing with parents, but we (and I include myself in here most definitely) want to know what you really think of our kid, what he’s really doing in class, how he really fares during lessons. Don’t sugar-coat it. Tell us how it is, then we can work together to help our little dudette achieve.
Here’s something most kids will complain about: Homework. In this case, though, these parents have a good point. A lot of times, teachers seem to forget that they’re not the only one assigning homework to the young dudes.
If parents get home at 6 with their kids, and homework requires a half-hour of whining, hand-holding, cajoling and general disruption to the family peace, that seemingly quick and easy 20 minutes of homework in a third-grader’s folder or an hour in a seventh-grader’s backpack robs the entire family of time together, dinner in a relaxed setting and a calm bedtime.
Finally, this last point goes hand in glove with the previous point. Parents would like teachers to keep in mind the big picture. Understand that students are taking classes in more than just your subject so talk to the other grade-level teachers before handing out that massive assignment that’s due on the same day as the term paper and the math exam.
You’d think that parents and teachers would understand the importance of communication, considering that’s basically what each must do with the kids every day. Still, it doesn’t hurt to undergo a bit of a refresher every now and then to make sure we’re all on the same page.