Schools would not exist without teachers.
As a parent, you know the work it takes to raise children and teach them important life skills. But imagine that you are also responsible for teaching them to read and write, do math, and learn science, geography, social studies and history. You also help them learn to manage their time, get along with other people, be respectful and navigate the emotional ups and downs of growing up. Now take all that work and multiply it by 25 (the average public classroom size).
Teachers are our partners in parenting. They spend eight hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year with our children. In that time they get to know our children in ways we, even as their parents, never will. And they want what we want — to help our children learn, grow and experience success.
Parents need to embrace that partnership and let our children’s teachers know we are on their team. Offer whatever support you can: at parent-teacher conferences tell them “I really appreciate the work you do,” or send your student’s teacher an email, asking what you can do at home to help your child learn more effectively. And if a teacher tells you about a concern with your child, try hard not to hear it as a criticism of your child or you by remembering it comes from a shared desire to see your child succeed.
Teachers don’t have it easy; they are undervalued and underappreciated, and they have a lot of bureaucratic nonsense that hinders their effectiveness. Every time I meet one I want to ask, “Why did you go into such a difficult profession?” when what I should say is “Thank you for becoming a teacher.”