10 things teachers wished you knew

A good parent/teacher relationship is important for making the most of the school year. Yet so many parents fail to communicate with their child’s teacher properly, or worse, say or do something to damage the relationship. We asked primary school teacher, Elyse Pitcher, to reveal the 10 things every teacher wished parents knew to help you be the ‘best parent in class’.

1. Have a set morning routine

Kids thrive on routine and a structured morning routine will set your child up for the day says Elyse, adding that it should always include a big, nutritious breakfast. “If your usual routine includes television, just be aware that children who watch tv in the morning are not in the right frame of mind for school. Instead, give your child responsibilities to increase their independence, such as making their beds or packing their own bags,” Elyse recommends.

2. Be on time every time

Elyse says teachers love parents who respect bell times explaining that being late to school means your child walks into a lesson that is already underway. “It is embarrassing for your child and it can take them a while to settle down and focus on the lesson,” she says.

3. Chill out and don’t be so defensive

Elyse says while she understands it’s easy to get defensive if a teacher tells you your child is falling behind in a certain area, it’s important to remember that it’s bound to happen at some time in every child’s education. She advises before reacting defensively, parents take a breath and really listen to what the teacher is telling them, so that they can both work together to help bring your child up to speed with the rest of the class.

4. Know your child’s timetable

Yes, you are busy, but so is your child. According to Elyse, your child will feel more comfortable about school if you are on top of their routine. She advises you have a weekly calendar with everything that is on at school, such as library day, sports day, mufti days, and project due dates.

5. Think about what you share with your child

“Some parents talk about how they don’t want their baby to start school/go on camp, because they will miss them. Children take these things literally,” says Elyse, who advises parents not to put their worries on their child. “Your anxieties become their anxieties,” she says. “Talk about it later with your partner and save your tears until then.”

6. Keep an open mind

As kids are not developed enough mentally to take in all perspectives of an event, Elyse asks parents to keep an open mind when children are telling them about a school incident. “You may hear a story from them about something that happened at school. If it upsets you, ask questions and think about what seems to make the most sense,” she says, advising that if you are still unhappy, talk to your child’s teacher about it.

7. A thank you goes a long way!

“Teachers often say that we never see a parent unless they have a problem with something,” says Elyse. “We always love a smile, a wave, or a quick chat with parents.”

8. Teachers wear many hats but can’t be responsible for everything

Primary school teachers are responsible for many different jobs and teach a range of different subjects. But they are not responsible for everything to do with your child, says Elyse, adding that they are not qualified doctors, speech therapists, or nutritionists so try not to take offense if they refer your child to someone with more specific knowledge.

9. Homework is not a way for teachers to get back at parents

Homework, if given out correctly, is the consolidation of the week’s lessons. According to Elyse, you and your child’s teacher should use it as a method of monitoring your child’s progress. “If your child struggles, or finds the homework too easy, let the teacher know, because homework can be modified.”

10. The teacher is on your side

Elyse emphasises that teachers care about your child and have their best interests at heart. “They teach because they love children.” Yes, even yours.

5 Comments

  1. dawnblyth 30/09/2018 at 10:37 pm

    I commend teachers for all they do for our children. As the article said, they wear many hats and I think sometimes parents can forget this. Having a great teacher be there for your child is an awesome win and it shows through your child’s learning. I like that this article reinforces what the teachers are trying to do – make children responsible for themselves and instill great behaviours.

  2. Alezandra 30/09/2018 at 10:31 pm

    This article is much appreciated. Although my son is just in kindy right now, it’s good to know how a morning routine is helpful to have especially in the long run.

  3. felicity beets 28/09/2018 at 8:42 am

    Helpful tips. I had never thought of homework as a way of letting the teacher know if the work is too easy or too challenging – good to know.

  4. kymmage 27/09/2018 at 9:10 pm

    Great list! I love my kids’ teachers. They are both so lovely, and are always happy to have a chat about stuff. They marvel at my children’s triumphs, and encourage them through their failures too. I do find that at the start of the year I will be a bit more defensive until I know the teacher better. Once we are on the same page, I feel better and can be more open about stuff too. I think it’s only natural to have a period of adjustment, in any new relationship and that includes teacher/parent.

  5. Bevik1971 27/09/2018 at 2:36 pm

    Love this article ūüôā I wasn’t a huge fan of school when I went haha. My 5 year old really loves school though and was moved up to the next class at the start of the 3rd term! Was a bit nervous about that, she is excelling though and needed the extra level up I think, but I’m always wary about the social side of it etc. But time will tell I guess. The teachers at her school are awesome though, the whole school is great and that makes a huge difference I think

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