It's a glorious time of year, isn't it? The kids are back in class, and the worst of the back-to-school storm is behind you.
But even as you check off your kids' supply lists and ease them back into the swing of a regular schedule, know that their teachers' work is ongoing and ever-changing, and they need your support, too.
As a longtime educator and mother of two, I know there's often a chasm in parent-teacher communication. To help bridge the gap, I'll let you in on four things every teacher wishes parents knew about the parent-teacher relationship.
1. We're partners, not friends.
Sorry, but as long as your child is a student in my class, I’m not Amy and you’re not [insert your first name here]. I prefer that we keep our relationship formal so that we can focus on the business at hand, which is making this year a year of academic and psycho-social growth for your child.
While we’re on that topic, yes, I do have social media accounts, but we can’t be friends there right now. If you friend request me, I won’t accept you. It’s nothing personal. To me, it is very important to me that our relationship has boundaries, because in the world I wear two hats–one as your child’s teacher and the other in my personal life–and the two are very different.
2. We won't hold your human moments against you.
As a parent myself, I get it. Permission slips are going to be late, homework will be forgotten, and sometimes you’ll find yourself out of groceries and forced to send your kid to school with M&M’s and half a bagel for lunch. I know because it happens to me, too. Don’t worry; I’ll grant you some grace.
And in return?
3. We deserve the professional benefit of the doubt.
I’m goofy, rigorous, fun, stern, and sometimes a little unconventional. It is not unusual for me to spend a class period with marker on my face, but just like you, I have big dreams for your child. I want them to experience success and setbacks, because that is how they will grow and learn. Trust in me, my credentials, and most importantly, my heart, and know that for eight hours a day I’m going to love your child just as fiercely as you do.
That being said...
4. Following the established norms for communication is key.
Understand that I want to talk to you–really, I do. And yet, that doesn’t mean you can waltz into the classroom as I’m preparing for the day, or come walking in mid-lesson to ask me about your child’s reading level. There is a time and a place for everything, and I’d prefer to give you my undivided attention during a time that works for both of us. So, if you have a concern about your child’s progress, feel free to shoot me an email and set up a meeting.
Remember: It takes a village and, as key players in that village, it's on us to work together.
So, whether it’s American Education Week, a class party, or parent-teacher night, we're here for you–and I'll personally save you a seat at the table. And, if you're lucky, it'll be right next to my mother, who comes in every year (because accountability isn't just for kids).
Fellow educators, have something to add? Join the conversation in the comments down below.