What parents want to say to teachers
Recently, we asked teachers what they’d like to say to parents. Now we’ve turned the tables and parents have had their turn! And before the teachers among you get riled, we know you aren’t all guilty of this sort of thing…
Here’s what parents said…
“It’s my daughter who is the four-year-old, so feel free to revert to your normal voice when talking to me!”
“The person before you may look like a deranged crazy woman with toast crumbs and jam in her hair, but she was actually quite an articulate, composed, responsible woman once. And still can be, occasionally. So please talk to her with at least an ounce of respect for the ghost of her former magnificent, non-paranoid and totally un-pushy self. Thank you.”
“At the start of the year, please do send basic information we might find useful and ideally, invite all the parents in for a session to meet you and find out what our children might learn, so we can help them at home. I know a lot of you do this but not all and it’s so helpful. It probably makes your life easier too as we won’t have to all ask questions individually.”
“Please don’t rely on our children to tell us important information. Most come out of the school gate in a zombie-like state. If you ask what they did, they mutter ‘nothing’, who they played with ‘no-one’, anything else ‘dunno’.”
“Frankly if a parent comes to see you they’re probably bricking it and may have been worrying themselves silly and working up the guts to raise the issue for months. Don’t be defensive or assume you’re being attacked – a parent who cares enough about their kid’s school experience to come and see you is surely the kind of parent the world needs, so give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“We DO know our children, probably better than you do, so maybe they really are being bullied and you’re not seeing it, or perhaps they actually could cope with a more challenging reading book. Do us the same courtesy we do you – trust us and our judgments about our children as much as we trust you.”
“If you don’t share basic information with us about what and how you’re teaching our children, we are much more likely to gossip about it and maybe about YOU in the playground at picking up time!”
“I know it’s hard to remember every parents’ name but if you were the teacher in my son’s class last year, please stop calling me just ‘Mummy’ when you are talking to me. It makes me cringe every time!”
“Please give me more than a day’s notice to organise a packed lunch/costume for the school play. I have other things to do and would rather not have to stay up until midnight sewing sequins onto something.”
“Would you be able to write about a child I vaguely recognise on their school report and avoid those meaningless ‘statement bank’ lines? If you’ve taught them for a year, surely you can say something more personalised? I know it’s a lot of work to do 30 reports but it means a lot to us to find out how our children are really doing.”
“We parents do swap notes about reports and if you write the same sort of thing on all of them we will find out!”
“I’d like real information rather than bland, always positive comments which don’t mean anything. I want to know if my children are struggling/ doing well and such statements don’t help me with this.”
WE’RE NOT ALL PUSHY PARENTS!
“Please remember that children have their at-school persona, and their at-home persona. So don’t automatically assume I’m being a deluded mum if I tell you that he reads every night/does multiplication/can do a cartwheel at home when he is inept/refuses to do this at school.”
“If I ask you a question about my child, outside of parents’ evening, it might not be because I’m pushy, obsessive or over-involved, so please don’t make me feel I’m being a nuisance. I understand that giving me only two five minute chats a year at parents’ evening is a school rule, not your decision and that you’re busy but sometimes it’s not enough to let me keep in touch with my child’s school life.”
“I know that homework isn’t rated that highly by some teachers, but it is by most parents. Please do take homework out of the bags each week, and mark it. Whether it is the teacher or the TA it doesn’t matter. It is particularly crushing for children to find that there’s nothing – not even a tick to say you’ve seen their hard work.”
“While I do realise you’ve higher priorities, it’d be great if you didn’t just hand out photocopied worksheets, or at least not every time. Printing out a more personalised sheet that says something like ‘this week we’ve been working on subtraction, and this week’s homework …’ really makes us feel we’re finding out a bit more about their week and what they’re doing, and helps us feel involved too.”
“We do appreciate what you do and that it’s not easy. And most of us even realise that you don’t stop working and go and put your feet up at 3pm every day! So thank you.”
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