10 Ways to Get Along with Your Child's Teacher

I taught 4th and 5th grade for seven years before deciding to stay home with my kids. For the most part, the parents were fine (emphasis on “for the most part”). Now that I have a child in elementary school, I have the potential to be that parent. The annoying one. The one the teachers talk about in the lunch room. In fact, the potential is there for all of us. Unbeknownst to many, there are rules of etiquette for parents of students – rules for how to be a good class parent. And these rules were once unwritten, floating around in the minds of teachers, until now….

10. Just stop. Stop texting your friends asking them about the teacher your kid was just assigned to. Before you form your opinion of how “great” or “awful” or “mean” your child’s teacher is based on Suzie’s mom’s opinion who had her three years ago, give your teacher a chance and form your own thoughts.

9. Respect office hours. Teachers know how pressing it may be to discuss the needs and/or concerns regarding your child. Cornering your child’s teacher at Open House, in the carpool line, or in the off-chance that you should see him/her in the grocery store is NOT THE TIME TO HAVE A CONFERENCE!!!! Send an email, schedule an appointment – it’s quite simple.

8. Communication is a two way street. Don’t bottle up your concerns and unleash them all on the teacher at conference time. Send an email or make a phone call as things come up throughout the year. Just give the teacher 24 hours to respond because on any given day he/she has the potential to receive up to 20ish parent emails and will likely be responding after school hours because (shocker) during the day she is busy TEACHING YOUR KID!

7. Sign, seal, deliver…. ASAP! I’m talking about permission slips, forms, quizzes, tests, and/or any other document that goes home and needs A) a signature, or B) money. Check your kid’s backpack nightly – do your part and send things back immediately. Taking inventory of who still hasn’t sent in which form is just another one of those things that cuts into instructional time. You want to know why your kid can’t write in cursive? Well, this is why.

6. Sit on your hands. For the love of the look on little Benny’s face who did his diorama completely by himself, DON’T do your kid’s projects for them. Contrary to popular belief, it’s pretty obvious (and really hard for a teacher to grade fairly). If you’ve got the itch to be crafty, send the teacher an email. I’m sure he/she could use some help decorating the 27 bulletin boards in and around the classroom.

5. Teachers are people, too. They don’t sleep in the classroom, they don’t only eat apples, they don’t really like wearing candy corn earrings (well, at least not all of them), and they sure as heck need time to unwind after spending 6 hours straight with 20 plus kids. If you see them at a restaurant having a glass of wine, relax. It’s okay. Don’t start the rumor mill.  If you were classy, you may consider buying it for them!

4. Teachers have enough mugs. And candles.

3. Don’t beat a dead horse. Teachers know you are upset that parents have to give out pencils or stickers instead of cupcakes for your child’s birthday. You guys, it’s not their fault. That’s a conversation for the Wellness Committee.

2. Do your part. Homework is a bitch. I get it. Now that I have my own kids I would publicly like to apologize for any stress it put on the parents. That being said, it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Help your child establish a routine to get it done each night. And don’t stop there. Reading to your kids is the single most important thing you can do each night. It’s a 15-20 minute investment with the best payoff. End teacher rant.

1. Show the love. Teachers really do care about your kid. That’s probably why they are teachers. They want to make a difference, they want to help children grow and learn, and inspire a love of learning. They work their butts off way beyond “school hours” creating lessons, reflecting on their practice, and doing everything think they can to make new information relevant, intriguing, and FUN for YOUR child. With that being said, you ARE allowed to thank them and tell them they are doing a great job. Teacher’s don’t get bonuses, but hearing that would probably make their day year.

Lindsey Schuster is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Raised with four sisters, her blog Sisters to Sons chronicles the new path she has carved: raising three sons. 

Categories: MomSpeak