Advice from Educators

Nothing seems as hard to any parent as life with a baby. All those firsts and walking around exhausted feels like the hardest thing on the planet to do. And it gets a little easier and easier as the months slip away, or maybe you just get used to it. And you think, "wow, this just gets so much less stressful as they get older." 
And then, they start school. Whether it is preschool or third grade or high school. Your child now has the responsibility of education on their hands.
 From ABCs to ACTs, it can hard to know what is right or wrong for your child. If they are learning at the pace they should. If they are attending the correct school or even in the correct grade. And as a parent, it is your job to make sure they have the access, the support, and the dedication for it all. 
Yea, makes those sleepless nights seem like a dream, really. So I sought out some advice from educators. I wanted to know what they would say to any parent given the chance. Since we all know that their communication can be stifled by rules and regulations. Here is what they had to say to help us all with our little ones...

More after the jump...

"Throughout the many years of my teaching, I have come across parents that would love to challenge my professional opinion whether it's in regards to grades their students have earned or just what novel that our level has decided to read. Some parents, I feel, like to have that control; it can be hard to let them realize that I just want their students to grow and LEARN!  Let the students be in the driver's seat, and we can all help co-pilot along the way! Believe me, all educators have their hearts set on what is best for your students.  Parents can have their own opinions, don't get me wrong, but let's come TOGETHER as a unit to do what is the most effective for your students!"

"I would tell parents that it's ok for kids to "fail" every now and then. It is ok if they aren't reading above grade level or in the highest math class when they are 10. Kids develop skills at different ages and even if they aren't at the top of the class in elementary school, it doesn't mean they will fail in life. Also if they wait until the last minute to do a project..send it in unfinished. It's ok for them to fail and then they will learn the natural consequences and hopefully become more independent along the way. As hard as I'm sure it is to watch your child struggle I think it builds perseverance."

"I think it's extremely important to build a home/school connection. Ask kids what they are doing and learning in school and don't take the monotone "nothing" for an answer. Tell them in the morning you'll be asking them later one thing they learned today and they need to come up with something. In addition, when things are going well in school, kids should be praised and rewarded at home. When a child is not doing well in school or getting in trouble there should also be trouble at home. It is important for parents to relay their kids the importance and value of school and they can do this by building a connection. It is crucial that parents show a genuine interest in what their children are doing in school."

"Average is okay! In a society built on competition and standardized tests, parents have become fully engaged in where their students are falling. They want to hear how special, how smart, how talented, how athletic, the list could go on. They want to know why aren't they getting an A. If I could tell a parent to stop over analyzing, a C- is still average, I would. However, most would take offense to that. Every child IS wonderful but it's not possible for every child to have perfect grades. Then the biggest kicker; if he/she is getting these grades they must need specialized support." 

"Schooling and educating is a joint relationship between home and school. Parents need to support the teachers and believe they have your child's best interest at heart! Kids like to play the home vs school card and tell untruths to both sides!! Always believe the teachers side first! Please trust the teachers. BUT question anything that is making your child upset or uncomfortable in the classroom. Not all teachers are as fabulous as you want to believe!. Please be supportive of the teacher yet advocate for your child. We DO want the best for your child!! Teaching is a hard profession that brings large rewards!!! It is a lifestyle not just a job!"

"Collaboration: The teaching staff is on your/your child's team! Be on their team!! Be open to hearing what is working and what is not working. 
Continuity: After collaborating with your teacher, it would be helpful/suggested to employ the successful strategies learned in school, in your own home! From experience, I found that sometimes things learned in the school setting were being undone at home.
Consistency: Keep homework/school project time on a set schedule. If there are behavioral strategies that are working in the classroom, try them at home."

"Don't always jump on board for special services or special education unless you are 100% sure it's the right thing to do and has been brought up across several grade levels. (Academic, behavioral, speech, etc.) Do your homework, do outside testing (outside of the town the school district is in,) make sure the teachers have differentiated as much as possible, and make sure their is evidence outside of the "data" that shows your kid has special needs. And at the end of the term, I beg you, ask to see the paperwork about how often they actually worked with your child in an intervention versus how many days/minutes they should have. The results may shock you. Better yet, ask for daily reports about who saw your kid and what they did! Ask questions and demand follow through."

"I would tell parents to work with their children on their passions, dreams, and authentic selves. So many students are here because the "should be" and not because they love what they are doing. Many do not even know what they love doing. This should be as essential as what college you apply to - knowing what makes you tick. Then, you can save a lot of time and money." 

"Don't always excuse your child's behavior with the common phrase " I guess it is just a stage" or "Well, they are only (fill in the blank) years old." Kids need to be held accountable on different levels at different stages of their life. Kids have bad days and that is inevitable and normal. However, if you find your self saying the above mentioned excuses on a weekly basis, you may need to re-examine your discipline/accountability methods with your kids. I have found that if you drop your kids off at school and you tell them what type of day you hope they have (e.g. I hope you have a great day, that you play well with your friends, listen to your teachers, etc.), they will have that type of day more often than not. Kids are people pleasers at their core." 

"From my experience working in the schools as a counselor, I would say to parents: Your child's behavior is a reflection of what is going on at home. While a family has a right to privacy, the more you share with your student's teacher and/or counselor, the better they can facilitate in your child's emotional, social, and academic development. If the parent does not have a great relationship with their student's teacher, seek out another teacher, principal, or other faulty member that you respect." 

"Always remember that you are your child's strongest advocate. If something is not right, do not take "no" for an answer. This is especially true with bullying. Not just the physical kind, but the emotional bullying of teasing and shunning. All schools have "bullying policies" on the record, but many unfortunately do not always follow through with appropriate action." 

"Parent's need to invest in their child's education. As teachers, we only have so much time at school and most teachers will say there is never enough time. School does not end when the children walk out the door at the end of the day. Parents need to instill the value of learning and education in their children to create lifelong learners. This does not mean sitting and completing a worksheet with your child each night, but challenging them every day. Use concepts from school in their every day life and apply them to real time situations. Use their math skills to help you bake cookies or sort clothes in the laundry to practice colors. Ask them those open ended critical thinking questions like how do you know that or what makes you think that? Challenge them, push them, teach them the value of learning." 

" Students learn best when they feel emotionally safe and loved. With that being said, make sure you are generally interested in your child. As a teacher, I thought this easy to do as a parent. But now that I have my own kids, I see how life can get in the way when your preschooler wants to show you his trains or watch a movie with you. It is easy to say "not right now, mommy's busy." But I have found it is very important to put down the laundry and just listen to your child. They will feel the emotional stability and it will benefit their educational life. The laundry can wait or simply make a mound of it so your kids can jump in the pile!" 

Such great answers from everyone. I know this was a long one, but thought all of the answers were worth sharing. Great take aways are that the teachers can only do so much, trust your instincts when it comes to your kids education, and education continues at home, maybe even more so. 

What are your thoughts? 



  1. This was a great post, Erin! The 'average is OK' really stuck with me. I feel like parents can get so caught up in demanding A's - perfection - and that can really hurt a child's self confidence in the long run. A child getting a C on a math test and bringing home a killer art project is ok! Like another teacher suggested, kids have to figure out what makes them tick so they know who they are, not just who their parents are demanding them to be.

    1. Loved that advice too. The over achievers in all of us can be hard to hold back. Kids need to find their own paths!

  2. Anonymous25.2.15

    This is my favorite post yet-maybe because I am a high school teacher in the Northshore. Even as an educator it is imperative to remind myself of these as I raise my own children. We have tried preaching to our freshmen that high school is more than just a start point to college and you are a failure if you get anything below an A; it is an experience and should be absorbed as fully as possible. I read a lot about elementary school as my child is young but the effects of school on teenagers are horrific. Embrace your kids as much as possible and never use the phrase, "This will look good on your application."

    1. Wow, and I remember hearing that quote SO many times. So true.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...