8 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew

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Originally posted here.

The parent-teacher relationship is indeed a special one. When you’re both on the same page, you can pave the way for a (hopefully!) smooth school year. But often parents don’t realize it’s their own common misconceptions that are causing bumps in the road. So we asked teachers what they’d tell parents point-blank if they had the chance — and some of their answers might surprise you.

1. “Attending back-to-school night can really help us both.”
It’s not just the same spiel every year. Often, your child’s new teachers will also have new policies and procedures to tell you about. If you miss out, you might not know to look in your kid’s backpack for important papers each day (like information on picture day or the school play) or what sort of homework schedule to expect.

2. “If your kid’s having a bad morning (or a bad week, or a bad month), let me know when you drop him off.”
You don’t have to go into detail, but it can make for an easier day if your child’s teacher knows that he might be feeling a little bit off.

3. “I can tell when your kid isn’t getting enough sleep.”
Teachers are noticing that kids just don’t have bedtimes like they used to. If your kid stays up too late watching TV or playing on the computer, it can affect how he feels and acts during the day.

4. “I buy school supplies (with my own money) for a reason.”
It’s a sad truth, but many schools just don’t provide teachers with the budget they need to help their classroom activities run smoothly. So take care to not lose that sturdy folder (filled with helpful memos) that the teacher sends home with your kid every day. And if he or she asks you to chip in for classrooms supplies, do what you can.

5. “If you have younger kids, you can’t trust them to tell you everything that happens at school.”
So check their backpacks for homework assignments, permission slips, or notes home. And take advantage of parent-teacher conferences to get some undivided time with the teacher.

6. “When your kid gets older, it doesn’t mean you can start being less involved.”
In high school and middle school, you might be tempted to ease off the gas when it comes to checking in on what your child does at school. But teachers report that setting a positive example, and taking interest in your kid’s education, is still critical in the later years.

7. “I work on the weekends.”
If you still believe that teaching is a part-time job, educators would like to remind you that they regularly put in extra long days and catch-up on classroom prep on the weekend.

8.  “You can ask me anything.”
If there’s one thing teachers want from their students’ parents, it’s more communication. Teachers view education as a collaborative process between them and the parent, so if you have a question or concern, definitely speak up! The clearer you are with other, the easier and more productive the year will be.

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