I worked as a Middle School English teacher before becoming a Stay at Home Mom. Every year I would meet parents and would often leave bothered by the negative remarks and attitudes towards school. There were so many things I wish I could have said, but never felt it was appropriate. Now that I am on the other side of things, I feel it is important for us as parents to recognize the hard work and dedication that each of our children's teachers put in each year.
1. Teachers spend 40+ hours setting up the classroom. Every teacher I have ever worked with has spent the week before the first day of school preparing their classroom for your kid to learn and grow in. And that's a week they are taking out of their own summer break, unpaid, to provide a positive learning space for your child. That's how much they care about your child and their experience in their room. Oh, and they pay for those supplies out of their own pocket.
2. Teachers are just as nervous for the first day as your child is. I used to get back to school nightmares the entire week before school started. And once the students entered my classroom each year butterflies would overtake my stomach. Everyone struggles with change and the unknown. It's natural!
3. They care about your child's success just as much as you do. Each teacher goes into the school year just as hopeful as the last. Our goal is to help each kid learn and succeed, no matter the difficulty. I can assure you that the majority of teachers put in more extra time and lose sleep over your child's struggles than you realize.
4. You don't need everything on the school supply list on the first day of school. Over the years I have seen so many parents stress over the dreaded school supply list. Although it is nice to have everything prepared for your student the first day, I can assure you that there is no content actually being learned that first week, and if they go in on the first day without Clorox wipes, the world will still turn.
In fact, sometimes you don't need the items at all. During my teaching days, I worked at two different school districts and each handled school supply lists very differently. At my first district, the teachers had no say in what was on the school supply list, which often lead to parents buying things they didn't even need for their child that year. I know - frustrating! So long story short, save your receipts just in case. Every teacher goes through the school supply expectations during the first week of school, so you should have answers then.
5. We appreciate you emailing us, but give us a week first. I always loved when parents would email me to tell me a little more about their child, especially when the child had an IEP or other health information that was important for me to know. But please know that teachers get bombarded with emails that first week and we are just trying to get back on our feet! Give us a chance to get to know your child that first week first, so when you email us about "Johnny", we actually know who Johnny is!
6. Show us we have your support. One of the hardest aspects of being a teacher is having to not only teach them content but also sometimes having to step in to help your child make better decisions when you are not around. I know it is sometimes hard to hear the things your child is doing, but I can assure you, the teacher isn't just making up something to get your kid in trouble.
Again, we want your child to succeed just as much as you do. So when a teacher calls you about your child's behavior in class, back that teacher up. It shows your child you have a united front, and it lets that teacher know that you trust and support their judgment.
7. You play an important role in your child's success in school. I can't tell you the number of times a parent have told me, "When he's at school he's your problem". Teachers are there to work WITH YOU to make sure your child succeeds in school. We cannot be there with them 24/7 to make sure they are getting their homework done, or to realize that they have no idea what happened in math that day, and they were just faking understanding in school so they didn't get made fun of.
It's also important to continue education at home. There are so many resources you can use to help strengthen the skills your child is learning so when they return to the classroom they have an even greater understanding of the concept.
Your role in your child's education is just as important as the teachers, and when you work together, amazing things will happen!
8. Your attitude about school rubs off on your children. Whether it's complaining about the school supply list, a curriculum you don't agree with, or a teacher you may not care for, you are sending your kids a message that school isn't important. And if they think school isn't important, why would they invest their time in it?
Overall, remember that the teachers do this important work because it is important to them. Your child is important to them. Working with them throughout the year will ensure your child's success in and outside of school, which at the end of the day is what everyone wants! Remember this, and you will make it the best year yet!
Read more from Josephine on her blog, Better as Us where you can find tips on motherhood, recipes, and free resources to help make motherhood easier. Join her tribe of moms at betterasus.com, or on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.