Preschool Teachers Speak Out

Here’s what preschool teachers would say to inconsiderate moms and dads — but don’t dare.

When I was a child care worker, there were occasions when I would have loved to be completely truthful with a few parents who didn’t undersand my role, but etiquette kept me quiet.

In fact, many preschool teachers and child care workers share common complaints with certain parents. Here are some things they wish they could say to them.

“Yes ma’am, that’s your baby.” It might be hard to accept that your angelic well-adjusted child has been caught doing something horrible, but really, why would we make it up? It’s frustrating when we sit down with parents to tell them something unpleasant and they don’t believe us.

“Your child at home is often a completely different child in a center setting,” says Jamie, a child care professional. “Many behaviors are triggered in social settings that don’t occur at home.  We are eyes and ears that can give you greater understanding of your child, so don’t turn your head if what we are telling you doesn’t fit your idea of who your child is.” 

Personality clashes. Not every kid likes every teacher and vice-versa. When new kids meet their teachers, it can take time to build trust and mutual respect. Just like in real-life, relationships within a preschool are complex.

Give preschool teachers your support and it will help your kid learn how to relate to people and set a good base for their relationships at big school and beyond.

Monster kids. Although we are not supposed to say it, we completely agree that the monster who punched your child three times in the last week should be expelled. Unfortunately we don’t make those decisions. We aren’t even allowed to describe their behavior as violent.

The truth, the whole truth… We’ll believe 50 percent of what they say about you if you believe 50 percent of what they say about us. When your kid tells us you fed him dog food and made him sleep in a kennel last night, we will be concerned but won’t take it as gospel, so we’d appreciate it if you kept your objective hat on when he complains about us.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. When you send your child to day care dirty or smelly, it impacts him in two ways. None of the other kids will want to play with him and neither will we. If you are having problems getting your kid to take a bath, talk to us. We are there to help and have resources and ideas in abundance.

Don’t forget to tell us important things. If your kid has allergies, is a vegetarian or isn’t potty trained, we need to know. Even worse, if there are court orders involving your child, please don’t omit to tell us, as it can prove dangerous for all involved in the child’s care as well as the child himself.

Infestation frustration. Head lice are not our fault! Same goes for scabies, ringworm and all the other parasites children like to share. Unfortunately they are pretty much unavoidable in child care centers unless we make the kids wear rubber swim hats all day and ban dress-up clothes. However, if you don’t treat your kid’s jumping scalp, it perpetuates the problem.

It’s not a sick ward. Don’t pretend your kid isn’t sick when you drop her off. That hour we spend waiting for you to come pick her up takes away valuable programming for the other children, which isn’t fair to them. We are not trying to sabotage your career, we just don’t have the staff to nurse your sick child.

Kids are messy. Don’t expect junior to look as clean and tidy as he did in the morning. Childhood is about having fun, and getting messy is part of that, so please don’t ask us to ensure that your child doesn’t mess up his new designer clothes. And don’t get mad at your the child for having paint splashed on him or mashed potato in his hair.

We close at 6pm, not 6.15pm. The majority of preschools and daycares do not offer overtime to their staff. So when you turn up late, there’s a reason we aren’t as chipper as we were when you dropped your child off that morning. We have a life outside of work and our own kids to get home to.

There you have them, the rarely expressed gripes of day care workers and preschool teachers. We truly appreciate the great majority of considerate parents who think of our viewpoint and daily efforts on behalf of their children.

Lola Augustine Brown is a freelance writer.

Categories: Early Education