Teachers: it takes a village and you *must* communicate

It’s really hard to be a teacher and a parent. It’s like a curse because it’s so easy to judge and think “I could do this so much better.”

I struggled with this all last year, when Big was in first grade. I posted very little of my frustrations. And I plan to post very little this year as well.

But there’s one thing I can’t not post:  the value of communication.

From the first day of my teacher training, we learned about the importance of working with the parents. We learned that communication is key. We learned that we need to smile and listen to parents, as we hope they’ll listen to us.

And, parents, we need to understand the same.

Everyone needs to know that your children won’t succeed in school unless the parents and the teachers work as a team.

Seems simple, yes? Oh. But it isn’t.

It takes a village, right? It takes a village to raise a child. But have you ever been a part of a village that doesn’t communicate? One that doesn’t send notes to each other? One that never tells you how to get in touch with each other or takes interest in sharing policies or expectations?

It’s difficult to raise our children when they’re with someone else 7 hours a day. It’s difficult to be supportive of a teacher when we don’t know why we’re being supportive.

Teachers, if you don’t explain yourself, if you don’t introduce yourself, or make yourself accessible to discuss, how are parents to support your decisions, your grades, your policies and your rules?

Our children have been in school 4 weeks already. I have yet to receive a note from the teacher.

Tonight, there was a phone chain amongst the mothers in our classroom. We needed spelling words, explanations of codes in our homework books, understanding of the grading system.

And we needed to know how to get in touch with the teacher.

When our children come home unable to explain a grade or an expectation and ask us a question, how can we answer? How can we respond to our child and share why Joey received a B and not an A, while he spelled every word on his spelling test correctly? How can explain something we know nothing about?

Communication. It’s key to any relationship.

Parent:teacher. That’s a pretty powerful relationship.

 

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2011, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. says

    I think the school year begins and we all trust the teacher and have high hopes for a great year, but then a lack of communication chips away at the trust as we begin to question what we should or could be doing to support or supplement things better, even to the core of what’s going on in class and what/how are they learning? It breeds worry, frustration and distrust. I went two and a half weeks without communication this year, so going four weeks sounds exasperating . . . and shows the blind faith you have in your district and teacher. I hope you get your questions answered and that things improve for you!

  2. says

    We had this issue last year in 3rd grade, and I was super frustrated after having an amazing two years of teachers, and one okay year. I walked into this year with my expectations low, but have already gotten an “email blast” from Boo’s teacher letting us know that she was testing the emails, that they have had a great first two weeks etc. I also was albe to reach out to her about a couple issues from last year that she needed to be aware of, and SHE asked me to come in so we could chat freely without worrying about Boo being uncomfortable.

    Being a working Mom I value the teachers that spend their days with my children, and I let them know how much I appriciate their willingness to talk and email whenever I have a question. The weekly updates and class newsletters add even more to that!

    I hope the year gets better!!

    • says

      sounds like you have a fabulous teacher this year, Kellyn, one who really values the teamwork of communities.

      It’s a shame that not everyone does. Having been a teacher, I recognize that teachers have personal lives and give a lot of their personal time to the jobs. I also feel that if they are in this field and have the responsibility of teaching children, they should embrace each child and teach them with everything they can. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

      Unfortunately, I’m going on my 2nd year of failed expectations with the teachers.

      Which also makes me wonder how much the principal knows, and what his expectations are.

  3. says

    You already know this but I have found as a parent I have to be the proactive one and seek out the teacher, find their email, and schedule conferences early and check in via email periodically as well. My son’s first year in public school (after 2 years in private school) I wasn’t as involved and regretted it. I felt like that year he made the least progress of any year. Sure he got good grades but he didn’t grow academically in the ways I thought he should.

  4. says

    LOVE this post. It’s so so key. We’ve been really fortunate in the last few years to have extremely communicative teachers. I hope things improve.

  5. says

    thanks for all the comments, ladies. Our teacher is lovely in person, which makes it so difficult to do this, but, due to a lot of unanswered questions that are turning into problems with distrust (you nailed it, Heidi), I will be calling the principal tomorrow to discuss.

    Ironically, TODAY Big brought home a very brief welcome letter with a questionaire about his learning habits and parent contact information.

  6. says

    It would drive me NUTS to have no communication with my kid’s teacher. I hope you guys get that sorted out pretty soon.
    I would imagine that as a teacher it would be painful to not have that feedback too!

  7. says

    Thanks for posting this. This is my first year as a “school-aged” mom and I was net quite sure what the rules were. I worked in preschools, day cares and after school programs, so my experiences are a little different than the typical parent/teacher relationship.

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