I appreciate the work you do with and for my children each day. I know it isn’t easy, laden with paperwork and red tape, and many times I am guessing you go home, collapse, and don’t want to come back. I know that most of you have many years of experience under your belts, have seen multiple siblings from the same families, and know by heart each unit and lesson you will teach throughout the year. And I want you to know that I’m grateful for all of it. But as a parent, I also want you to know that there are things I wish you’d share more often and in more detail. I’m sure you don’t mean to withhold information, since when you’ve done the same job for years it’s easy to forget that parents don’t know the ins and outs of the job like you do. Yet sometimes, I feel in the dark. I know you want me to be an active participant in my child’s learning, so can you communicate the following things so we can work together? Thanks.
This is a simple one, but many teachers forget to communicate the daily schedule of the classroom. Beyond knowing which specials are on which days, it would be nice to know about my child’s routine in school, like when he goes to lunch or out for recess. It would not only help me prepare my child and assess his needs, I could better plan appointments that can’t be helped, like the doctor and dentist. Sending home a simple paper at the beginning of the year would be great.
I realize this is a grey area, but knowing what’s required of my child each day would help me reinforce it at home. Sometimes, talking to my child is like pulling teeth, or only having half of the pieces of a puzzle yet trying to see the whole picture. If my child’s in the wrong, then I’d like to be able to know that and help him better prepare for the future. Knowing, for instance, that all papers belong in a special bin before the school day begins would help me remind him to do so if he’s forgetting. As a mom, I’m not interested in a special case for my child or being right; I want to know how to reinforce what you do each day to teach him right from wrong.
I appreciate that homework must be done each day, but sometimes things are expected that I don’t know about. Unfortunately, my son isn’t always the best at communicating what needs to be done. For instance, in first grade, my son was to complete fifteen minutes of reading each day, which we did daily. However, no one told me that after we read, I was to ask questions and make sure he understood the beginning, middle, and end of the story, as well as important plot details. Halfway through the year, he was sent to learning support to help him on these skills because while his reading was above average, his comprehension was not. Had I known this simple expectation from the beginning, I would have been emphasizing these skills all along, and he may have been caught up without the extra help. Please know that I want to know these things so that I can help my child; a simple instruction sheet outlining the expectations for an assignment would be very helpful.
Rules and Consequences
Many classroom rules are a no-brainer. Of course I expect that my kids are expected to behave appropriately and refrain from bad behavior such as name-calling, not listening, or physical violence. Yet sometimes there are nuanced rules, particular to a specific teacher’s way of doing things that I am not aware of. If my son comes home telling me he missed recess and I don’t know why, it’s not that I think he’s innocent, but I can’t reinforce what he did wrong and talk it through. Knowing what rules you have and what consequences take place when those rules aren’t followed will give me a bigger picture of what’s expected of my child and also help me to back you up at home when rules aren’t followed properly. I can also use this knowledge to encourage my child to do the right thing by reminding him of the consequences that await when he doesn’t.
Benchmarks You’re Working Towards
Report cards and parent-teacher conferences are very helpful, giving me a better idea of where my child stands and what he needs to improve upon. I like knowing what kind of progress he’s making and how I can help. However, sometimes I’m only given information on what he’s done, but little to none on where he needs to go. Being a 4 out of 5 is much different than being a 4 out of 10, and knowing the context of his progress makes all the difference. Please explain to us what skills you want to see mastered by the end of the year so that I can encourage my child to go the distance and not just halfway.
In closing, teacher, thanks again for all you do. If you could just communicate these things to me, I know we could make the school experience even better by working together as a team to encourage progress and learning.
Your Student’s Mom