Kids aren’t the only ones headed back to school. Teachers are gearing up for a new school year too. But for many of my teacher-friends, they never did gear down. If they weren’t teaching summer school or reading camps, they have been in the classroom organizing and cleaning. Why? It’s not because they are receiving a paycheck (because they are not making extra money by working in their classrooms over the summer), it’s because they want everything to be good—not perfect, but right and wonderful for their students. The following ten suggestions are ways you can help your child’s teacher adjust to her new students (your child in particular) and have a happy new school year.
- Encourage your child’s teacher. Everyone—EVERYONE—needs a bit of encouragement. Just because the teacher is someone in authority doesn’t mean he/she is automatically an enemy. When things are right, tell your teacher about it. Encouragement and praise go a long way. Consider your work: when your boss tells you that you did a good job in a particular area, you feel good and want to strive to do better. When your husband compliments you on how beautiful the house looks, you feel good. Teachers are the same way. When you notice how hard they worked, and give them a word of appreciation or affirmation, they are inspired to continue to do their best.
- Do not talk negatively about your teacher—to other people, to other parents, and especially your children. Gossip just hurts, no matter who it is.
- If there is a problem with the teacher or a particular situation, go straight to him/her to resolve it. Believe it or not, the teacher wants the problem resolved as much as you do. Everyone’s life is better when it’s free of conflict. But the reality is that conflict often occurs where more than one person exists—whether its friendships, marriages, work environment, or church group. The main thing is to work it out so everyone benefits.
- Presume the best of your teacher. There are always two sides to any story. Get the facts before you react.
- Trust your teacher. He/she has been trained to deliver a quality education to all students. And you are the expert on the personal needs and learning styles of your child. Together you make a DYNAMIC TEAM. Make time to share your knowledge and listen to the teacher’s knowledge as well. This will help facilitate the best education your child can receive.
- Parents aren’t perfect—and neither are teachers. Forgive them when they make a mistake. Like you, they come to work with all of their own “adult stuff.” And like you they are concerned about their own children or problems within their family. Like you they can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
- God can use anyone in any situation. If things are tough, find the good lesson in it.
- Model for your child how to treat a teacher with respect.
- Different personalities make us beautiful! Just because you are an enthusiastic extravert and your child’s teacher is a quieter-introvert-type, (or vice versa) doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you when you don’t respond in the same way. Keep it real people—relax!
- Pray for your teacher.
Seldom is something perfect all of the time. But following these simple, respectful guidelines sure can make things feel a little easier in an already stressed out world.
Debbie has been a teacher for more than 38 years and a parent for 32 years. Her children attended both private and public schools.