Teachers are generally pretty nice, positive people, especially in the elementary school space. And also, according to people that comment on my videos, are not supposed to have any sort of individual opinion or negative feelings about anything at all whatsoever. So, I would not have made this video if I was still in the classroom.
But, it needs to be said.
Nobody is perfect, and teachers are ready to work with families of all kinds of cultural backgrounds, situations, personalities, setups, you name it. But, if you want to start the school year off on the right foot, there are just a few key things that you can do. I was a teacher for 10 years, and the things that I'm going to talk about in this video happened to me a lot.
So why am I making this video? It's not to complain. I want to empower you to go into that school, make great relationships with your kids teachers, so that your babies can thrive during their school year.
The majority of the things I'll mention, the parents probably thought were well intentioned or were oblivious that it was hurting their relationship with their child's teacher. That relationship is so important because the two of you will be working on a team together. You're the home team, they're the school team, and if you're working on a team like you should, the child will grow, and maybe get through a lot of problems before they even realize that they had them.
Number one, diving into conversation without introducing yourself. Even if you've met the teacher multiple times before, it is so helpful just to remind them what your name is and who your kiddo is.
Teachers just know a lot of people and because of that there's a lot of people popping up at the school all the time unexpected, expecting a one on one really personal conversation.
And while they can give that to you, you're going to give them a huge leg up if you can just quickly remind them who you are and who your kiddo was. If that feels really awkward to be reintroducing yourself every time, just maybe in the first few sentences mention your kiddo's name.
And, if it's a teacher your kid had a few years ago, mention what grade they're in now, because that just gives them a little more frame of reference. They'll probably know immediately once they hear the name. It just helps so much because teachers minds are in a million places at once, and it just directs the conversation and helps them be the wonderful, amazing person they are.
Number two, during open house or any time that the whole crew is coming to your classroom, letting kids just pull things off of shelves. This happened to me every single year at open house, that a family would come in and they would bring all the kids, which of course, it's a school, Sometimes it would be the toddler, sometimes it would be the child that was actually entering my class would just run over to my bookshelves or where an interesting toy was sitting and just start pulling it off and then pull everything off the shelves.
Usually Open House or any other event where the general community is being invited into the school, this is a time that the teacher has spent hours, days, weeks, even if it's the beginning of the school year, setting up their classroom and the classroom is at its peak beauty.
Classrooms, especially lower elementary's classrooms, look really fun. So I understand exactly where it's coming from, but you are gonna really start off on a great level if you just remind your kids their manners. Tell them if they see somebody else going to the shelves, they need to check in with you.
I got ahead of this and I actually just started setting up a small toy space in my classroom because I was so tired of my room being destroyed.
The other thing that's tricky about that is I always felt really uncomfortable disciplining kids or redirecting children when their parents were nearby because it's like Well, you're in my classroom, but you're not under my care right now. Your adults are here. And also, I'm trying to run this open house and talk to parents. It's not actually my time to be teaching or disciplining or redirecting kids at all. If you can just talk to your kiddos about some manners, keep the hands to themselves, please don't pull things off of shelves during open house. The teacher is going to remember that.
If it does happen, don't beat yourself up, but just walk over to your kid and, Help them put the things back, don't just let them keep playing with the toys and keep pulling things off the shelves. That is when the teacher's going to remember that, Oh, wow, they were invited into my classroom space and weren't taking care of it.
Number three, this is not going to happen on your first interaction with the teacher, but it can happen pretty quickly into the school year and this is denying that there's a problem. if the teacher contacts you, you're at a conference, they're starting to give some areas of improvement, maybe a situation happened and your child is in trouble something negative in general is happening.
It is really important to remember you are on a team with this teacher and they have brought this concern to you as a teammate. They are reaching out to you because they care about you. They have a responsibility to, of course, but also because you know your child best.
But if you are dismissive with what they are saying and just saying there's not a problem, or you're responding to an answer by saying, well, they're bored.
Or, where were you, teacher, when this happened? Those answers are dismissive at best, and at worst are enabling the child's behavior. When parents say things like that, especially the where were you question, it feels like the parent is trying to move the problem off of their child and blame other people.
And while teachers are not perfect, and I'm sure in your child's school career, you're going to work with at least one teacher that you really don't like or don't agree with, when it comes to those conversations, it just becomes completely unproductive.
Remember, teachers don't want to have those conversations either.
If they could just send home 100% s and happy faces at all times, you know that they would love that.
When they are trying to talk to you and they're being greeted with the attitude of, well, the teacher is the problem, instead of showing you want to solve it, it's just going to make the teacher shut down. And if they're greeted with that enough times when they're trying to troubleshoot, eventually, they will reach out to you less and less and less.
A lot of teachers call this, dealing with a problem in house. I know some teachers that are really jaded and don't like to reach out to parents, and it's because they've been, responded with this kind of attitude so many times. So even if you don't like it, just try to listen and be present in the moment, and then you can call your partner or your best friend or whoever and go hash it out with them.
You have a relationship with this teacher all year long, so even though you don't have to agree on everything, at least give yourself a chance to hear the entire problem and think about it .
It's very possible there might be something else going on, right?
There's often more to the story or something else, and that's why they are trying to talk with you because you might be the answer to that question.
Anyway, so those are three first impression behaviors that teachers really don't like, but I think they're honestly pretty easy to avoid now that you've heard about them.
I'm curious if there's other things that you would add to this list. Leave a comment below.
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I have all sorts of things ranging from how to actually help your child with schoolwork to what you should be talking about during a parent teacher conference. I hope you watch more. My name's Natalie and this is Primary Focus. See you next time.
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