Yesterday, I spent the morning preparing my classroom for the 20+ students that will begin school after Labor Day. As I unpacked boxes and moved furniture, I thought about the tweet that I started sending out about six months ago:
What do you want your child’s teacher to understand about your child?
At first, I didn’t get many responses. It seemed that the “twittersphere” thought I was a ranting mother asking a rhetorical question. After I sent the same tweet a few times, I got answers that were honest and raw and needed to be shared with other parents and especially my colleagues.
I want my child’s teacher to see her gifts instead of only her struggles
I wished the teacher understood the impact of her body language
I hope that my child’s teacher understands sensory processing issues
Not every child is an extrovert and that’s ok
Ask if you have questions, that doesn’t make you weak
Please edit your classroom-it is too much for mine
Try and share the good news too
My child needs work that is different from others
Busy work is not well-received
Please understand that these issues aren’t from “bad parenting”
All of these tweets impacted me, especially the last one. Before I was a parent of a child like mine, I often explained a child’s quirky behavior to parenting. I made judgments about the fact that they must let the child run the house or that rules must be absent.
I’m not proud of it and I owe many parents apologies when I indicated that a bit of tough love and a sticker chart at home would change everything.
Anyone that thinks that teachers go into the classroom to have summers off must be crazy! This is a job that requires dedication, passion, and creative budgeting. Our profession is filled with bright and caring people who want to do our best and to make a positive impact on kids. The problem is, that unless you are a parent of a kid like mine…you just don’t understand the impact of the cluttered walls, the daily emails about his poor choices, or the weekly homework packet filled with tedious busy work.
As a teacher, I am saying to the parents out there…we are trying and we will keep working!
As a mother, I am saying to the teachers out there…keep trying to make school a safe, successful experience for all!
What do you want your teacher to know????
I love the question and some really interesting responses.
I think you will really enjoy my most recent post. I hope you get a chance to check it out: http://larrydbernstein.com/you-have-my-word/
I read your post and loved it!
It is an important piece that I hope many will take the time to read!
Until our society can embrace our differences (or perceived differences) kids will continue to be bullied.
Plus…how can kids be expected to rise up when adults still find it acceptable to frown on others for their appearance, religion, or ones they love!
After having my son’s teacher suggest, “Perhaps if your house was more organized your son would be more successful”. GRRRRR!! This was not the problem!! This was in September and in February I received a tearful apology saying she wished she had more proactive parents like me and that she misunderstood my son and felt she finally got him. Anyway, I would like my child’s teacher to know that just because you are a teacher does not mean you know everything!! Please don’t assume because my son loses nearly every assignment somewhere between home and school that we are slobs!!!
The snap judgments are annoying now but I have to admit that I have made them in the past.
I didn’t know!
I had no idea what this gig was like…especially with a kid like mine.
Thank you so much and here’s to a smooth transition for our children!
Kelly, can you print this for me?
Great post and questions! As the parent of a child who has tested into gifted schools here in Chicago, some of those tweets and your experience really resonates with help. Even though our son attends a school for gifted children, I still feel he is misunderstood at times. I try to work with his teachers, but often feel they are overwhelmed by the number of students in their classrooms and the expectations on them as teachers. There are no easy answers, but it is definitely a conversation worth continuing. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your visit and comments!
I think that sometimes overworked teachers think that a gifted child will be okay until the struggling students are doing better. It isn’t on purpose to ignore any other student but because they already meet standard and there is only so much time in the day…
My son was missing out on reading instruction because “he already exceeded grade level expectations” and the teacher had many that still weren’t. Ugh…
More communication still needed 😉
So great. 2 of my 4 have special needs, and school is so scary. I love that you are able to see both sides. Thanks for this!
Honestly…I don’t think that I could truly see both sides until I was a spec needs parent. I wishes I had the same understanding prior to that but I didn’t. I tried, but had no idea.
Thank you for your visit and comment 😉