What PARENTS wish teachers knew at the beginning of the year

Woman and kid hold red toy heart in arms

Note: This blog is a follow-up to What teachers wish parents knew at the beginning of the year.

Well, teachers, this blog is for you!  I’m going to put on my parent hat and join the many parents who wrote to tell me what they wish you knew at the beginning of the year. Here goes!

Parents are grateful

Overwhelmingly, what I heard over and over again, is how grateful parents are for your work with our kids.

  • We see you. We see how much you love our children. How much work you put into your lessons.
  • Many of us believe that we can’t possibly do your job. We’re amazed by you. And we marvel at your patience.
  • We appreciate the little extras that make things run smoothly and keep us informed. Thank you for the emails. The memos. The reminders.
  • You model many crucial life skills and habits that build a solid foundation for life. You inspire creativity. Flexibility. And care of others.
  • The care that you take in preparing worship matters to us. It grounds us at the beginning/end of the day. The faith lessons are powerful to our families. Hearing songs and worshipping together with the MSS community often brings happy tears.
  • You’re thoughtful. Intentional. And kind.
  • We pray for you.
  • We love that you pray for our kids by name.

We love our kids

  • Multiple parents wrote to say that we aren’t just dropping of a child at the door. We’re dropping off a piece of our heart and soul.
  • If we linger or have trouble letting go, see the point above!
  • We miss our kids when they’re in school. Even when they’re going through a difficult developmental stage and we’re happy for a little distance during the day.
  • A small nod, wink, or thumbs up will carry us through until 3 PM.

Parenting is messy. We need a lot of grace.

  • In fact, that bears repeating again. We need a lot of grace!
  • Parenting is a crazy juggling act. We were once great multi-taskers. But that was before we had screaming toddlers, infants who need constant attention, and middle school students with big feelings, tugging at us as we try to get out the door in the morning. All at the same time.
  • We forget things. We just do. There’s too much to remember. Some of us wonder if there is a temporary (we hope!) child-induced dementia…
  • Sometimes our kids go to bed later than we want. And that sets them up for a difficult next day. Sometimes one parent works late hours and staying up occasionally is the only way to see them.
  • Those of us with younger children can’t always make it up the stairs to leave notes in the classrooms of our older children or attend worship. (Though we wish we could.)
  • Babies always seem to need to be changed the moment we try to leave for pick up.
  • Discipling kids is tough and draining. We know you get this. And we try to keep in contact with you when issues arise.
  • It can be hard to read email (or anything!) with small children around. If our thoughts seem disorganized, it’s because we haven’t had a quiet moment to think.
  • Signing up for parent-teacher conferences can be tricky when you have multiple children and have to hire a babysitter. (And babysitting is expensive–around $20/hr!)
  • There’s no time between after school and bedtime. Snack. Playtime. Park time. Activities. Dinner. Homework. Debriefing. It’s a race to the finish line every night.
  • Even if we forget to sign the reading log (see point above), we’re still reading to our kids.
  • Community snack in the lower grades serves a beautiful purpose. And for some of us, it’s hard to manage buying/delivering it.
  • We really, really try to meet expectations and handle all of the moving parts.

What our kids tell us

  • Our students love to go to school. They care for you.
  • They enjoy the celebrations.
  • They want to start working right away. The first few days of introduction as school ramps up can feel long.
  • They don’t like it when an entire class takes a consequence for a few disruptors.
  • They remember injustices and perceived injustices. At the same time, we know that you try to be fair and even-handed.
  • They miss us. Even the bigger ones.
  • Silent lunch is hard.

On lunches and outfits

  • We know that multi-grain bread is better than white. And vegetables are better than Cheez-Its. We try to balance good nutrition with what our kids will actually eat. We know they need calories to have the stamina they need to get through the school day.
  • Some of our kids request the same lunch. Every. Single. Day.
  • We pick our battles. The mismatched outfit is not high on the priority list.
  • Sometimes we forget the coat/hats/mittens. (Sorry!) Sometimes we’re letting a natural consequence take its course for a strong-willed middle schooler.

Our hopes/requests 

  • Pursue your passions. The teachers that we remember from our school days and our older (high school and college)  children still talk about with awe are those who are not just passionate about teaching, but also passionate about the subjects they’re teaching.
  • If you talk to us in passing about something you need, please follow up with an email.  Remember that point about child-induced dementia?
  • Ask us for help. We want to support your work in any way we can!

Overall, dear teachers, we’re so grateful for the way you love and teach our children.  We care about you. Hope this year is full of beauty. Joy. And just the right amount of growth-inducing struggle.

May this be a year of blessing.

With special thanks to parent contributors for sharing their thoughts.

 

Abby Liu

ABBY LIU, Associate Director of Communications

Ms. Liu is a writer for the development office and manages the school’s digital and print media. She’s the parent of a current MSS student and a recent alum.