Sunday, March 24, 2013

5 Things Parents Should Avoid Saying to the Teacher

Of course, parents want to believe their child behaves perfectly at school and many parents think their child is gifted. As a former teacher, I feel like I've heard and seen most everything. But here are statements parents say that can make a dedicated teacher cringe.

1. “My kid is not challenged enough. He's bored with school.” Answer: "I follow the district’s curriculum which follows state mandated requirements. Your child is making wonderful progress in academics but also learning social skills. If he finishes work before the other students, I will be happy to offer him books and computer programs to supplement the lessons or more challenging work.”

2. “Why isn't my child in the Gifted & Talented program? Then why isn't he in Special Ed.?” Answer: “I do not test children for the Gifted and Talented Program. That is done during the second semester of Kindergarten by the GT teacher who determines those few who qualify. You may request that your child be tested again next year. Just because your child does not qualify for GT, does not mean they have a learning disability or special needs. But if you have concerns about that, let's discuss it and a diagnostician can test."

3. “I didn't know today was picture day.” Answer: “Please check your child's backpack every evening, read emails and the class blog which is updated weekly.

4. "I don't want Sally wearing her new Dorothy Wizard of Oz shoes to recess. They might get scuffed up.” (No tennis shoes were in backpack). Answer: “Notices have been sent home that children are to wear tennis shoes to school because of recess and PE.”

5. “It's wasn't my kid's fault. It was the other kid’s.” Answer: “Please help your child learn to take responsibility for their actions. Reinforcement at home of a consequence at school is extremely effective - or use a reward  Marble Jar for the days your child stays on green.

Some questions have easy solutions. Mommy with Selective Memory wrote to me, “My daughter gets dehydrated. I don’t want her drinking out of the school water fountain." I thought that's a contradiction, but Mommy continued, "Is it too weird to ask her teacher that Munchkin bring her own water bottle? I think the water foundation is germy.” This seems like a simple request and it was granted without much fanfare.
Some things parents say give you insight into their home life. Cody snuck his pet canary into his backpack and let it out at school.The poor bird fluttered around the room much to the astonishment of parents. A dad finally caught little Tweety and I put him in a container. I called mom who had no idea that her son had brought their $60 pet to school. She soon arrived to pick up the bird. She started to take Tweety out of the container to drive him home. I said, "Don't you want to take him home in the container?"

Cody's mom answered, "Don't you need it?"

I smiled and replied, "It's okay. Cody can bring it back tomorrow - with no pets in it." Does she really want to drive with a bird fluttering around in the car?

{Please understand this post was meant with good intentions. Ask a teacher whatever you want. This simply may give you an idea of what they may be thinking. Teachers truly want what is best for any child. There were so many other situations involving Cody and his mother, that you would understand why I thought the above if you only knew of the other incidents.}

Related Posts:
Backpack Check

You may be interested in my books - both are bestsellers and helpful gifts for teachers and parents. For a glimpse into kindergarten, see - Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Would you like inexpensive ideas, activities, and games to teach your child through play? Let us save your sanity, one project at a time, with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.The ebooks are only $3.99

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  1. Fantastic, Susan! I absolutely love the real-life scenarios...especially the one about the canary! Often, parents don't realize how they can best help their child to have a successful school year..this post gives some great tips!

    1. Thank you Vivian. Yes, true story on the bird coming to school in Cody's backpack. I'll never forget that child. He's doing fine - saw him at the dr's and to my amazement, he and his mom were doing great. They had some very rough early years. He became a typical teenager with phone plugged into ear.

  2. I know that parents can be hard on teachers and your responses are so professional and helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Great post! At the beginning of the year, a parent told me that my newletters and emails would never be read--they just didn't roll that way. They asked/told, "Would you just text me?". Well, no. I keep an updated class blog for parents, send a pdf of the weekly newsletter via email every Sunday night, and place a hard copy of that news in the binder on Mondays. There is no excuse for not knowing the dates for school functions, field trips, or memory verses, etc. Every family in my class is well connected, electronically!

    Ok, I just vented. Please forgive me. It's nearly April and I'm still dealing with this problem!

    1. Chrissy - that is perfectly fine to vent here. I can so relate! Just read what's in the backpack, please parents!

  4. Some times the teachers really do need to be informed of when the child is just bored in school. I was placed in the G&T classes and was still bored. I got in trouble because the teacher had to follow the curriculum and I was bored with doing things I had already done. The teachers didn't believe me, even though I could show them. Sometimes the parents need to stand up for the kids.

  5. Yes, parents are the child's advocate. I meant, sometimes even the very first time you meet parents - at Meet the Teacher night - some parents want their child to read or impress the teacher with their giftedness. The GT teacher is responsible for qualifying students. But yes, I have seen students qualify in 3rd or 4th grade and yet they repeated Kindergarten. It is wonderful when a parent asks that their child be retested - especially when the outcome is that they will be in the GT program. Thank you for commenting.

  6. Children must be made bold enough to take up the responsibilities of their action.By this way the parent is helping the child to mold his behavior. The children become more strong by doing so.....And they can handle stressful situations more easily later...The parents should make it a lesson to train their kids for this even from the small age...from his junior kindergarten itself!!!..... Great post!!!


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