Soon, our kids will be in your care for most of their waking hours. You will watch their successes, failures, and everything in between.
And our kids will be watching you. They will watch the way you respond to a variety of situations, the way you show your emotions, the way you speak and the way you treat others. They will probably idolize you, whether you deserve it or not.
So please, this school year, keep us in the loop. Let us know what you see in our children. To you, things may be obvious, but to us, at home, things might look different. Tell us what our child’s strengths and weaknesses are. Tell us what we should be proud of, and what we should be concerned about. Tell us what accomplishments to celebrate, and what we can do at home to help you.
We send our young children to you full of excitement, curiosity, and a love of learning. Ask yourself everyday if you are suppressing those feelings in the name of classroom management, or encouraging them. Do not allow our children to lose that excitement for learning.
Our older children have started to experience failure, and the way you treat that failure will influence them forever. Embrace it. Focus on the process, not the end result. Praise effort and hard work. Demonstrate that practice leads to improvement, and offer opportunities to practice constantly.
Our teenagers are looking to you for guidance. You must show them what it means to be a responsible, dependable adult. You must show them how to treat others, find their strengths, deal with unpleasant people, and work through a problem from beginning to end. Remember that the way you treat them has a big influence on how and what they learn from you.
We think our children are special. In fact, they’re one of the most important things in our lives. Treat them that way. Remember that we want what’s best for our children, just like you do. If you and I don’t agree on what is best, explain your viewpoint, so we can understand your actions.
Take the time to get to know our kids. Remember that they are each unique, they each learn differently, and it is YOUR job to figure out how they learn. Do not expect that the same approach will work for every student, and do not accept failure. Every student can make progress, and that is your responsibility.
Finally, remember why you decided to become a teacher. Savor those “perfect” moments when your 4th graders don’t realize it’s time for recess because they’re so engrossed writing books, when a child who struggles with long division finally “gets it” and when your dream, cross-curricular unit comes together and inspires a student to write award winning poetry. Your job is important and I know it is stressful, but it is not without joy. Cherish those joyful moments and it will make a difference for you and your students.
(former teacher and 1st time mom of a preschooler)