What Teachers Want You to Know

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Before I was a mom, I was a teacher. I quit several years ago to be at home with my kids. Like most teachers with children, living in both worlds has given me a unique and valuable perspective. So, I thought I would reach out to some local teachers and ask them to share their thoughts about school. I asked them one question with no qualifiers:

“What do you want parents to know about school?”

Their responses blew me away! I am so excited to share with you some of their thoughts.

Let’s Talk

They said they want to hear from you! This was the response I received the most, and it makes my heart sing to hear that teachers want us to know this. 

Fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Evans, says that, “when parents let me know their child’s interests, dislikes, and even events that happen outside the classroom, I can help provide more support for their child at school. Sometimes, as parents, we feel like we shouldn’t bother a teacher with something simple, but we want to know. We want to help.”

Honestly, I have felt the conflict of whether or not to bother my children’s teachers with their struggles, but this helps! While teachers don’t need to know everything, we can share the things that are affecting our children at school. 

Mrs. Taylor, a retired 3rd grade teacher, understands how parents feel about reaching out to teachers. She says, “parents, and I would speak for myself many years ago, tend to think there could be a stigma or consequence around telling teachers about things like a death in the family, job loss, divorce, or financial set-backs; yet these small things often bring about behaviors and academic changes that teachers could possibly ward off.”

Communicating with your child’s teacher is important, and as Mr. White, a special education teacher, notes, “communication both ways can alleviate a lot of problems.” So, moms, don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teachers and let them know what is going on!

Let’s Team Up

When parents and teachers work together, we can better support our kids and students. As parents, we need to advocate for our kids, but we also need to know that their teachers want to advocate for them as well. 

Mrs. Taylor wants us to know that “teachers can be a great advocate for your kids while at school.” Middle school administrator Mrs. Posey shares that teachers “are good resources and see your kids in their ‘element’ with friends. Most teachers are there to help your child grow and become better. Make your child’s teacher your ally.” As a former middle school teacher, I can say that our kids definitely come out of their shells at school. Teachers see them in a way that most of us parents don’t, so they are a great resource for us.

Teachers want parents to know that we are all on the same team, and while we might have different perspectives, we have the same basic goals. Mr. White sums them up, saying that most of us want our students to “excel in class, learn the material, be free from distractions, and be a positive member of the community.” As a parent, I can get on board with those goals. I’m thankful to know that my kids’ teachers are working toward the same general goals as me. Let’s team up with them!

We Heart Your Kids

Teachers are passionate about teaching and love their students! (Seriously, this does my mama heart good.) I know first hand how much teachers care about their students, but I’m so glad these teachers want parents to know!

Sixth grade teacher, Mr. Norris, shared that “it is a blessing and honor (one that I don’t take lightly) to know I have a direct influence on over 125 young adults daily. I may not always be able to preach the Gospel, but I can live it out.” Mrs. Bueche, who also teaches sixth grade, says, “I want kids to come to my room knowing that I care for them and want to bring out the best in them.” She went on to share that while she isn’t perfect, she strives to bring out the best in her kids and never takes her time with them for granted.

Another sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Donahoo, wants parents to know that teachers “are working hard weeks before school starts to prepare. We are excited, nervous, and hope that you are happy with us.” I remember those days of planning for a new year, with the excitement of the possibilities and the nervousness of the unknown.

My daughters helping me get ready for a new school year. (2012)

Mr. White shared that “teachers genuinely want to teach, build relationships with the students, and have a positive experience throughout the year.” Most teachers are called to teaching and have this same desire to teach, connect and impact students. The job is stressful, but at the end of the day teachers genuinely care about their students.

Let’s Be There

They said that school is tough, and our kids need our support. As a mom, I know that I can tend to downplay the stress of school sometimes. Honestly, though, I need to hear this. School was tough for us and in many ways, it is even harder for our kids.

Mrs. Cross, fourth grade teacher, had this to say: “Middle school years are the toughest! Just be there for your child.” Mrs. Landrum, who also teaches fourth grade, wants parents to know that “school is only one piece of the growing up puzzle. Kids need to value their education, but let’s not stress them out with unrealistic expectations.” These are great reminders for us.

Today in school, the pressure to achieve is higher, classes are more advanced, and social media has brought a whole new stress that most of us parents didn’t have. I love that these teachers shared the perspective that school, achievement, and grades need to be kept in the right perspective.

School is important and can be fun, but it can also be a stressful time for students, parents, and teachers. I want to say a big “THANK YOU” to all the teachers who responded. Some thoughts were quoted and some were gathered into general ideas. Every one of them was valuable!

I am thankful that we have some of the best teachers in the world right here in Birmingham!

Has your child had a great teacher? I’d love to hear about what makes him or her special!

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Rachel Gunn is a former teacher turned full time mom and family coach. She was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Her fish-out-of-water life, melding her northern heritage and southern raising, has grown her as a mom and as a Christian woman. She obtained her masters in Education from UAB and taught middle school for ten years. She lives in the Oak Mountain community with her husband, Brent, two teenagers; Katelyn and Sarah, and their Sheepadoodle, Pearl. Rachel founded Seeds of Impact, a nonprofit with a mission to empower and equip moms to impact the next generation in a powerful way. When not working and driving kids around, Rachel loves to go on adventures with her family. They particularly love exploring the country by RV. To unwind, she loves reading mysteries and Elin Hildebrand novels.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My son had the most amazing first grade teacher, Mrs. Alexander at Shades Mountain Elementary school! She made the kids feel so special after they had to endure a kindergarten year that was anything but normal. She was great with communication with the parents and my son always came home talking about how much fun school was!

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