In my 25 plus years of teaching I learned some important lessons about communication between parents and teachers.
Some of these lessons I learned because of mistakes I made. I want to share these thoughts with the hope that each of us allows God’s grace to overshadow all we do as parents, grandparents, and teachers. It can be especially hard when the parent is also a teacher! I remember….
So – here goes:
- don’t believe everything your child says – check it out.
I had a parent come see me my second year of teaching and ask me if I had dressed up as a moose. No, I had not. In talking further, we realized that I had a dress with a white pinafore (this was 1975) and that the child was trying to tell her mother that I had dressed like Mother Goose – only the child said “moose”. I am so glad she came to ME, and thankful this was before Facebook!
- if you have a concern, ask about it respectfully, don’t
I remember thinking “why didn’t the teacher let me know about this field trip, assignment, etc. earlier” only to find out a note was sent home – but never given to me. Not the teacher’s fault.
- if you have a concern, write a note or an email that says something like this – “I am concerned about Jimmy’s __________ (fear, negative attitude, apathy, lack of understanding of new material, etc) and I was wondering when I could meet to talk with you about it. Is there something I could be doing at home to address this concern?”
Showing up during class or calling during class is NOT a good idea. Teachers want and need to be teaching during class. Waiting around right after school unannounced may also be a problem because the teacher may have after school duty, a faculty meeting, or a sports event for their own child. A note expresses your willingness to respect the teacher’s schedule as well as let the teacher know you want to work together for the good of the child.
- Whenever something positive happens, especially after you have expressed concerns, share appreciation for what the teacher has done and is doing. It means so much and it also sets a good example for our children.
Eleven of our 12 grandchildren have started back to school. Four of them had their first day today! Some of these grandchildren are in classes of 30 or more. Those teachers have all those precious minds and hearts (and not so precious bodies:) to teach 5 days a week. We must remember to pray for them!
As a former teacher I must remember not to criticize or complain about my grandchildrens’ teachers. God is in control, I need to trust.
The two following verses are a good reminder for teachers, parents, and grandparents since we all share the responsibility of teaching our children.
Proverbs 15:2 (TLB)
2 A wise teacher makes learning a joy;
Proverbs 16:21 (TLB)
21 The wise man is known by his common sense, and a pleasant teacher is the best.
May God Bless this school year!