Personal Facebook friends of mine know that, from time to time, I post links, blogs and overall feelings about the teaching profession in addition to the usual, daily things like, “Alaina Adams is eating Frosted Flakes right now.” On September 7th, I posted a link for Ron Clark’s article called, “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents,” in which he asks parents to “work with the system, not against it.” As a teacher, I found the article pretty entertaining because of its brutal honesty and accuracy. I knew that my teacher-friends on Facebook would find it funny. What I didn’t expect, however, was the “buzz” the article got from my non-teacher friends. As I read passionate posts from these personal friends, it occurred to me that many of them are parents and have opinions about education that are worth sharing.
Here is a response to Clark’s article from my old high school friend, Sarah:
“What this parent would like teachers and administrators to understand…
1. I did not set up an appointment to tattle. My time is valuable too, and I would appreciate it if you took my concerns, with written documentation, seriously. Please do not dismiss my very valid concerns with “I really can’t deal with this right now.” You are the principal, and are put in that position TO deal with this. In any other industry, when a customer complaint is brought forward, it is generally addressed in a professional manner. If the same situation happened at a daycare, Child Protective Services would have been notified.
2. When my child comes home from school for two weeks in a row reeking of urine, and tells me that it happened at lunch, I know several things. a. No grown up is monitoring bathroom time during the lunch period so my child can feel safe going potty. b. She does not feel safe enough to go to her teacher or nurse. Why? c. You have not come within five feet of my child in the afternoon for two weeks, or else you would have smelled it. d. My child is a frickin rock star if she sits in smelly wet underwear, pants, socks and shoes for three hours next to other kids, and still gets a smiley face on her behavior chart.
3. When my child finishes her work, correctly, before the rest of the class, consistently, and you tell her to read a book until the rest of the children are done, I think you are leaving my child behind. You are her teacher, so teach her. She is wanting to learn. Praise her for doing good work. Raise the bar for the rest of the class. Don’t make her feel isolated for doing well. Find alternate extra credit assignments for her.
4. Do not violate district policy and show PG13 movies to my child without my consent or knowledge. Do not say, “Everyone has seen that movie” as a response. Do not expect me to not take this to the district level when it happens several times in a quarter.
5. I am a Stay at Home Mom. That does not mean I am the Queen of Free Time. It does not mean I am uneducated. It does not mean I don’t read the PTA newsletter and find the grammar errors and typos, and wonder why the people who are teaching my children did not see the errors, too. It means I am my childrens’ first teacher, and their grandest advocate.
6. When my child tells me something that happened at school, and it sounds “fishy”, I am sending the note questioning the accusation to hold my child accountable for what SHE is saying. She needs to learn that the facts and truth will always be found out. I am asking you about the incident so that we CAN present the united front against the lie. After all, we are a team, right?
These are just some of the things I have seen and experienced in the 11 years of being a parent of a student. I have been thinking all day about if we have ever had any good teachers, and I am not able to think of the name of one. Sad but true.
Sarah: this teacher-blogger salutes your parent-blogger contribution. Thank you for not “attacking” teachers and for sharing your thoughts – we appreciate your methods of constructive dialogue. Parents like you give us hope for change and better partnerships in education.