13. Don’t judge your child’s teacher by how much fun your kid is having in his/her classroom:
Some of the best teachers aren’t always a laugh riot. They push and pull and nag their students to work harder and learn more than they ever thought they could. That’s not always fun. Judge a teacher by how much academic growth your child is showing.
12. Let the teacher do his/her job.
Teachers are not there to be a pal, therapist, or marriage counselor. Have a very good reason before contacting your child’s teacher. Every time you call, e-mail, or meet with the teacher, you are taking time away from the him/her planning and preparing to teach your child (and the other children in his/her class). Don’t waste that time.
11. Don’t believe everything you’re told.
All kids lie. Yours is no exception. Just as you did with your parents, your child sometimes stretches the truth a bit to keep themselves out of trouble. If you ever hear the words “my child never lies” coming out of your mouth, you aren’t having a good parenting moment. If your child comes home with a story about the teacher that seems preposterous, it probably is.
10. Hold Your child accountable.
Make your child responsible for his or her own homework and behavior. When you get a report saying your child is misbehaving or isn’t getting homework done, don’t call the teacher (see tip #12). You’re the parent. Deal with it at home between you and your child.
9. Attend Back to School Night & Parent/Teacher Conferences.
Both are a lot of extra work for teachers. Those bulletin boards, projects, and report cards didn’t just happen. Both of these school events require teachers giving up time at home with their own families. Your attendance sends a message to your child (and the teacher) that education is a priority to you.
8. Don’t run to the principal.
Disagreements happen. If you have an issue or complaint, remember to always talk to the teacher directly before doing anything else. Oftentimes, a child will go home with only half of the story. Naturally, it’s the half that is sure to get a big reaction from the “Mama Bear” or “Papa Bear” in you (see tip #11). If, after speaking to the teacher, you still have an issue, then by all means go to the principal.
7. School isn’t Burger King.
You can’t have it your way. Each teacher is going to have his/her own way of doing things. Be flexible. It’s good for your child to see you adapting to change. Likewise, it’s tremendously beneficial for your child to be flexible and adapt to each new teacher he/she has. Your child will have to deal with many different people, personalities, and temperaments as they make their way in the world. The time to start practicing doing this well is now.
6. Buck up, Buttercup.
Your child needs to learn to cope. Some parents complain about the smallest things. One parent complained that the “aggressive” colors of paper used for the flyers and notices being sent home were upsetting her child. Outrageous, right? Is this parent going to run to her child’s first boss and complain about the color of the memo her daughter just received? Really?
5. Remember that teachers are human beings.
Your child’s teacher isn’t going to be perfect. He/she is going to be tired and have a bad day from time to time. He/she may drop the ball and forget to do something. He/she may even be grumpy with your child every once in a while. Live with it. Teach your kid to have empathy. Remember that teachers are in a room with 30+ kids every day, all day. Are you able to always be patient every moment of every single day? I didn’t think so.
4. Don’t gossip or speak negatively about the teacher.
Watch your mouth. Don’t speak negatively about the teacher to other parents or to your child. Ever. It always ends up getting back to the teacher and can very quickly ruin the relationship you want to have. When you speak negatively about the teacher to your child it undermines the teacher’s credibility. It doesn’t do great things for the level of respect your child has for authority either. Bad idea. Just FYI, you wouldn’t believe the things your child tells his/her teacher about you and what goes on in your home.
3. The teacher isn’t the Director of Entertainment:
Teachers try to make learning interesting and fun. They really do. Some subjects lend themselves more to this endeavor than others. Likewise, some subjects are naturally more engaging to your child than others. If your kid complains that something is boring, they need to get through it anyway (see tip #6).
2. Learning is a choice:
As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. The same is true of learning. Your child could have the “Teacher of the Year” for a teacher and still not grow academically. Ultimately, your child has to decide to learn. As the parent, you can help your child make this decision (see tip #10).
1. Be respectful.
It should go without saying, but too often it doesn’t.
Teachers, leave me a comment and let me know what tips I should add to my list! I will be updating this post regularly, so you may see your tips here!