5 Things Teachers Wished Parents Knew
Ongoing, two-way communication between families and teachers is the best strategy for ensuring that children’s learning is supported both at school and at home. For communication to be effective, families and teachers must work together to reach a mutual understanding of each other’s perspectives, as well as strengths and challenges.
When the late Phyllis Hunter—renowned educator, author and literacy expert—addressed teachers, she often told them, “Parents send us the best kids they have. It’s not like they’re keeping the good ones at home!” Through her winking humor, Hunter reminded teachers to be cognizant of families’ strengths, as well as their limitations, while working together to achieve a mutual goal of helping children achieve academic success.
By the same token, five teachers shared perspectives, below, on what they wish parents knew about their jobs — their strengths, challenges and the opportunities they see while helping each child learn and thrive in school.
1. We’re in this together.
“I wish parents knew that they are teachers, too! We depend on parents’ partnership. Also, reading to your child every night is essential. Even as children grow older and can read to themselves, establishing that time together to read — and for them to see you as a reader — is essential.
-Melissa Miller (2019 Tennessee State Teacher of the Year)
2. Check in. A lot.
“I wish that parents knew the importance of checking on their own child’s progress before the end of the nine-week grading period. I wish they checked the online grading system more often and encouraged their students along the way.”
-Cecily Woodward (2018 Tennessee State Teacher of the Year)
3. Lesson plans only go so far.
“I wish parents knew that some aspects of the classroom setting and curriculum are out of my control. For instance, when I taught Kindergarten, some of the other teachers and I felt that having the children focus on reading levels was, at times, overwhelming and counterintuitive for certain students.”
-A pre-K teacher from Brooklyn, NY
4. We need you to be our ears.
“I wish every parent understood the complexity of meeting the needs of every student in their class, especially with class sizes as large as they are. It is helpful when parents share what their ears hear from their child and/or from other parents.”
-Dana Roth, (Kindergarten teacher, Brooklyn, NY)
5. Your kid matters to us.
“I wish parents knew that when their child enters my classroom I focus on relationships so that I get to know the whole child. I am aware of the tremendous responsibility it is to be entrusted to care, teach and love each little person as I prepare them to be productive citizens of the world.”
-Dana McDonough (2016 New York State Teacher of the Year)
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