What parents and teachers want each other to know
CASTLE ROCK— Open houses, parent-teacher conferences, school events; many parents understand the importance of a baseline connection to their child’s school so that they have a better understanding of their child’s academic and social progress, and so they can help him or her be successful. Many also understand the importance of parent-teacher communication, but may not always communicate as much as they’d like to or be as up front as they’d like to be. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.
It’s important to remember that both parents and teachers have a common goal: providing the best possible education for children and making sure that they are happy, healthy and successful.
With this in mind, we asked teachers what they would like parents to know, and what parents would like teachers to know. Here is what we heard.
What Teachers Want Parents to Know
Next to parents or guardians, the next most important person in a child's life is often their teacher, so the partnership between parents and teachers is invaluable! Parents benefit from involvement in school because they learn more about our academic program and how it works. They get ideas about how to help support their children and become more confident about the value of their own contributions to their student’s success. Teachers also find great benefits when we have a strong relationship with the families of our students. We can learn more about students’ needs and home environment, which helps us differentiate and personalize learning for our students. A positive teacher-parent connection can also help improve teacher morale. Reach out to us with your concerns and your celebrations. We are anxious to form a strong relationship with you.
We love your kids! We care deeply about our students and try to make lessons that are engaging. High schoolers can be chatty, but we don't believe everything we hear them say about their parents. In exchange, please do not always believe everything that your child may say about his or her teachers. Give us the benefit of the doubt and please reach out to us if something sounds unreasonable or concerning.
Not everyone is an A student. It is absolutely okay if your child ends with a B in class. Heck, even a C is average and isn't the end of the world! Please don't ask us to provide them extra credit to raise their grade. The grade they have for the class is indicative of their level of understanding of the content. We are here to help your child learn but we will not simply give out A's because you or your child just want an A. That A must be earned by showing complete mastery of the content.
One of the most important parts of thriving in school is finding a connection to something. Not every kid will be a football star or be on top of the cheerleading pyramid— and they don't need to be. There are dozens and dozens of clubs and activities, including nationally ranked student newspapers, dynamic TV departments that produce exciting and engaging content, outdoor clubs, gaming clubs, social clubs, and just about everything. Kids who are happy and engaged in school are the ones who feel like they are connected to the community. Urge your student to find an extracurricular activity, be it athletic, artistic or something in between. They'll be happy they did.
For parents of high school students: Please understand that your high schooler is now...well...a high schooler. We are working to teach them the skills needed to succeed both at this level and beyond in college. Among the most important of those is the sense of independence. Your son or daughter should be their own advocate with their teachers. If they miss an assignment or have a question about a test or are struggling to understand a concept, it is their responsibility to seek out those answers. Mom and Dad aren't always going to be there, and they need to learn how to self-advocate.
We want you to know that outside of us as parents, we recognize you will have the next greatest influence on our children. We know how important this role is in the life of our children and that trust is critical. We appreciate teachers that take every concern and treat them with the importance they deserve. Your time, effort, kindness, hard work and dedication to kids do not go unnoticed! Thank you for taking the time to prepare, teach and connect with our children, and for sharing the joys and successes with us parents when we see you at school, conferences and back-to-school night.
We want to hear from you! K-6 parents crave communication such as what our kids are studying, how they are being assessed and how that info is being used, upcoming field trips, sensitive issues and how they were handled, volunteerism and donation needs, and school news.
Family time, socialization with friends, community volunteerism and after-school activities are healthy for a child; however, heavy homework constraints can often interfere with this.
Our children face real life problems and stresses. While some children may act out, please be understanding. We all can become frustrated, and we respectfully ask that you understand just how important you are in their lives and how much what you say matters.
Every student wants to succeed. If they are not succeeding yet, the way teachers support and treat them as human beings can spur students on to great growth and success. The way teachers talk to students is critical, and should always be kind, supportive and find ways to help students continually improve. Students who don't feel respected and cared for often shut down and begin to fail academically because they do not feel safe approaching teachers for help. Look for the introverts and help draw them out of their shells.
We wish there were more ways for parents to let you know how much you are appreciated and valued. Especially for those of us with older kids, we don't get to see you day to day. We leave back to school nights and conferences thinking how amazing you are, and we are thankful for how much you do for our kids.