While preparing for my conferences I started to think about what I would like parents to know about teachers. Here are a few of them.
- *We love your kids. We want what's best for them just like you do.
- We work hard. Yes, we have holidays off and are off during the summer, but for those 10 months that we teach, we spend way more hours working than just the 7 we spend with students each day. And even during the summer we often look for new ideas and plan for the coming year.
- We really, really appreciate being appreciated. A card, a gift, even a kind word will make our day.
- We have tons of unmatched coffee mugs and Christmas ornaments that say "World's Best Teacher" and candles. If you're going to give a teacher a gift, be creative. (And if you can't be creative, we love gift cards.)
- We like parent support. If my parents spend time reading to their children or practicing flashcards, it encourages me to do more, too.
- We love being teachers. It's a job that you can't do if you don't love it. We don't love every minute of every day, but we love teaching.
- We don't like it when parents are absent from their children's education. We want to see you at events and in the school. We want you to read the notes we send home. We want you to sign and send back notes and permission slips without having to remind you.
- We know what we're doing. All certified teachers have taken tons of classes about how to teach your kids. And have spent hours and hours and hours with kids. We are experts.
- We learn as much as we teach. I can't even begin to tell you how much my students have taught me over the years about school and kids and life.
- We have stories. Every teacher has a story about "that kid" and "that class" and "that time that the class pet got out and did that funny/scary/weird/gross thing." Ask us. We love to tell our stories.
So, if you are a parent who has a child who has a teacher or will have a teacher, those are a few things they may want you to know. And if you are a teacher, please feel free to add your own things to my list.
*By saying "we," I mean me and maybe teachers in general. Of course all these things may not fit every teacher. Some teachers actually collect unmatched coffee mugs.