To Be Honest: What Your Kid's Teacher Wishes You Knew

The beginning of the school year always comes with a little excitement — there’s the possibility of new friends, the chance for a fresh start, and the hope that this year is the best year yet. Admittedly, there’s always a little trepidation, too; the return to routines and assignments and lunchroom politics can be hard.

That excitement — and that anxiety — isn’t limited to parents and kids.

In recent years, teachers have had to deal with more than ever. Not only the usual school year challenges, but also the COVID learning loss that has left many kids behind and the infiltration of politics inside the classroom. 

And yet, teachers return to the classroom year after year — for the love of their students and their profession. They are truly the unsung heroes of the educational system, taking on more challenges each year. But they don’t have to face all these challenges on their own. Parents can help — or at least make teachers’ jobs a bit easier, with a little conscientiousness and knowledge.

SheKnows spoke to a few teachers to find out the things they’d really love for parents to know — at the beginning of the school year and beyond — to make the learning year run as smoothly as possible.

Please Remember That Teachers Have Lives Outside of the Classroom

“Parents should know that we have lives, too, and if we don’t respond to their email or text after 4 p.m., it’s probably because we are enjoying time with our family.” – Anonymous, MA.

“We appreciate communication. But please know that we have families too and will normally not respond outside of school hours.” – Erika A., NJ

Every School Year is a Fresh Start

“I never use anybody else’s experiences to pave the way for my own experiences. Every year is a fresh start for my incoming students and their families as well as the same for my girl’s teachers.” – Erica S., NJ

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Parents Should Take a Step Back From The Classroom

“Please let us do our jobs. Unfortunately, more recently parents want to have a say on how a classroom should be run and what we should teach their children.” – Erica S.

“Parents need to let their children take responsibility and be held accountable.” – Lindsey L., NY

Teachers Are Doing Their Best — And They’re as Excited as Students for the Year Ahead

“The COVID effect is still very real. We are all doing our best to catch everyone up — educationally and socially.” – Erica S.

“We are trying our best, but we are exhausted mentally and emotionally.” – Anonymous

“What works for one does not need to work for all, and therefore I reserve the right to create my own opinions. I always start the year expressing gratitude and excitement for the year-long partnership. There is always a sense of excitement with the beginning of the year to develop these new relationships.” – Erica S.

They Want the Best For Your Children

“I love them [my students] like my own.” – Anonymous

Please Do the Reading Assignments

“Reading is important! Even ten minutes a night.” – Erica S.

Also, Please Cover the Basics at Home

“Make sure your children know how to tie their shoes. Or give them velcro!” – Michael S, NJ

“Start teaching your kids simple manners, such as how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at an early age.  So many students today don’t even know simple etiquette, even in high school.” – Michael S.

Limit Screen Time

“Try and limit screen time as your kids grow up. Make it a reward after they do homework and for an hour a night.  So many kids, in high school, middle, and even elementary school are always buried in their smartphones.  It’s become an unhealthy habit that is hindering not only their learning, but how to be social members of society.  It’s very hard to teach your kids when the only thing on their mind is ‘when can I look back at my phone next?’” – Michael S.

Parents and Teachers are On the Same Team

“I teach 9th and 10th graders. I wish they [parents] knew that at this age, their hard work as a parent is fully on display. And if they feel they might not be good parents, it’s not too late to turn their teens around. At this age, they might listen to me more than their parents, but that’s because they want to find things out on their own. Not because you haven’t told them the same thing ten times. We work best as a team. Guiding them forward.” – Catalina C., Yonkers

“Don’t assume the worst of your teacher.” – Lindsey L.

“We want the best for your child.  And when they do something wrong, we need your help and backing to discipline them so they can learn from it and not repeat it. Coddling them and saying ‘not my child, he’s an angel’ will keep reinforcing the negative behavior and it won’t get fixed.” – Michael S.

And above all, worth remembering when it comes to the school year — and all things — teachers want parents to remember this:

“Kids are capable of big things.” Lindsey L.

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