things parents wish teachers knew

First, we all carry plastic nowadays.  Asking for two dollars for a pen pal or bus fare or whatever is a huge inconvenience and at 7:30 in the morning we can not get to the ATM and then the store to make change.  Will you take a check?  Can it cover the whole year?

In a similar vein, the thing about the requests for money for this or that is that they are frustrating because we voted for your budget and there is a certain amount of resentment we feel about being asked to fork over more cash.  We want my school to ask for everything they need so that we can avoid…

Fundraising. We have such a love hate relationship with this topic.  We love looking at the adorable tchatzkies for sale because we love catalog shopping.  On the other hand, who are we kidding?  We have to drive the kid to the relatives or bring the brochure to work and sometimes we would just rather pass.  Barring the unlikely possibility of a fully funded budget with every possible contingency planned and paid for, having the option to donate directly to an enrichment fund or the like is a great relief.

Sending important stuff to us via the kid is risky.  You worked hard at creating a catchy newsletter, but we can’t read it because it has been slathered with a busted yogurt. Can you figure out how to hermetically seal it or better yet, post it on your website or email us?

Help us have a conversation with our children.  Prime their pump before the day ends.  When you do email us, suggest some prompts to jog their memory about the goings-on in class- it really helps a lot.

Many of us work.  We can’t come in and do this or that without lots of notice; and by lots, we mean months, not days.  Time moves differently in the outside world than it does in school.  If you know that you go to Fort @ #4 in Charlestown every year, tell us in September so we can square it at work. `

By the way, is there another way for us to show involvement for the kid other than the field trip?  Who can I pay to go on it in my stead? For this, I offer cash under the table.  I hated bus rides as a kid, no way am I doing it as an adult. People who have given birth are genetically incapable of sitting in a scrunched position for long periods of time.  Heretofore, I have not had to go on many because the notice about them arrives so late, but if you all start giving advance warning I am going to need a proxy.

Know that on weekdays we have from 5:00-8:00 pm, max, together as a family.  If we are all at home and things are going smoothly, we can do the tasks you require or recommend.  If we are still driving or, better yet, still working during that time, this gets harder and harder.  It isn’t that we don’t care; it’s just that the kids are fried after a while and crying about homework seems so pointless. I will write you a note and let you know that it did not happen.  The note will be in crayon on a napkin.

Though we understand your intent in calling to inform us of the bad behavior of our student, involving us takes away some of your power to influence.  If we are doing the disciplining at home for behavior that happens at school, the solution hasn’t come from you- the person who needs to assert the authority. However, we do appreciate getting the adult version of events.” Noah is in for recess as he was responsible for getting all the boys to refuse to sing in music,” is something we need to know, ‘because you know Noah is not coming clean!

Can I sign the homework assignment book at the beginning of each new month instead of every day?  My signature is supposed to help you know that I know what the assignment was, when it was due and so on.  I have some startling news for you: my signature only indicates that I found a pen.   I try to glean information from my student, but the handwriting sometimes looks as though they were on a hay wagon while writing.  They say, “I did it at school, “ and I am thinking,” I really hope that’s true.”

Bottom line is, we are both trying to do right by the kids, and all joking aside, and we can learn a lot from each other’s little gripes.

Thank you teachers, for all you do for our families, from making a third copy of the permission slip to keeping track of which baby blue backpack belongs to which kid.

Thank you parents for all you do for our schools, from sending in treats just because, to pitching in with book fairs when we ask.

One last thing. Teachers, in your first newsletter home, please give this extremely handy information: the janitor’s name and his favorite foods.  Past experience has shown me that I will be seeing a lot of him and sucking up with  presents is one way to ensure that he opens the door when he sees its us, flashlights in hand, looking for the paper so I can compost for the homeless.


About Deb Beaupre

I am a teacher and a mother who loves to read and hates to exercise but must. I live in the boonies and have three athletic kids and a cat and a horse.I touch neither. I grow flowers, not food. I am from Boston and so nobody understands what I say but that's okay, because no one around here talks much anyhow. Things I have done I never expected to do:own a horse and be asked to help catch a runaway cow. Thing I will never do: deliver a baby lamb.


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