Monday, September 19, 2011

"What teachers really want to tell parents"

Read, listen, reflect: "What teachers really want to tell parents". Are you one of "those" parents?

I was a teacher for 15 years before retiring to motherhood.  Don't do the math....suffice it to say that I am not a spring chicken!  I have taught children, teachers and adults and when asked if I will ever go back, I say without hesitation, "Not to public school.  Probably not to teach children.  If I taught again, it would probably be adults."  I love children and my heart feels full when I see the world blossom before their inquisitive eyes.  But....BUT..... teaching is not all blossoms and blooms.  For every time that I am blessed to see a child realize something new, I have spent a hundred unpleasant moments managing paperwork and parents. 

Recently, I read an article on sharing the thoughts of a reknowned principal who is leaving the profession.  In the article, the principal shares with parents 3 things that teachers "really want to tell parents."  As I read this article, I found myself cheering the principal for her boldness and courage in saying what so many teachers have thought.  Cheering as this veteran said what so many parents need to hear:  "Listen."  Listen to your children when they tell you their joys and their pains.  And, listen to the teachers when they tell you that your child is not perfect. 

With ever-tightening budgets and larger classes, I know that our teachers are feeling more burdened each year. They are meeting with more work and less pay. They sweat out the year only to wait on pins and needles wondering if their program will make the cut. I hear parent's make complaints about teacher's mistakes as though teachers should be perfect or generically refer to "all teachers" as though they are all equally bad. But, I can honestly say that in 15 years of teaching around the globe, I have never met a teacher that didn't have your child's best interest in mind. Teachers are not in this for the pay and they are certainly not looking for confrontation. Teachers want to help you raise a productive, healthy adult who is responsible for himself or herself. Their greatest joy comes from seeing your child succeed, not fail.

I also found myself wondering if I was "one of those parents" who created more work for my angel's already overworked, underpaid teacher.  Am I the parent who encourages the teacher or the one who adds more burden?  I don't know.  I hope that I am the encourager, the one that shows my child how to respect the teacher and his or her authority.  I want my to submit to their teacher, using questions to discover their world rather than challenge authority.  I want my cangel to gather the knowledge that each teacher has to offer, taking responsibilities for mistakes and learning through those trials.

Throughout my angel's life, I will team with innumerable teachers and I know how deep my love for my angel runs.  But, I hope that I am never one of "those" parents.  I hope that I never make a teacher feel as though my child is their only concern.  I hope that I never make a teacher feel as though my child is blameless.  I hope that I never make a teacher feel as though he or she should do more....

Because, I know, that teacher has already done their best.

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