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              teacher from movie school or rock in front of a chalkboard

              Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew (But Can't Say)

              As we prepare our kids for back to school, we wonder: Are we ready? Teachers need support more than ever, so we asked a few about what teachers wish parents knew but were too polite to say. We've got our listening ears ready.

               At the beginning of a school year, everyone gets to know one another, and developing relationships between student and teacher, parent and teacher, all takes time. The first six weeks of school are essential to developing the routine. After that, everyone gets more comfortable, and hopefully a warm, supportive atmosphere for a year of growth for each child and family. Here's what teachers had to say about everything from orientation to that end of year gift. 

              On Parents' Night or Orientation:

              • Lots of things to find out will be shared at parent night and through regular communications. Ask questions there. Find out the class rules on being late, illness, missing school, and the best way for parents to get involved.

              • Find out how the teacher will keep parents up-to-date with what's happening at school. If it's a weekly note about what is coming up or a monthly calendar, read it, so you can keep up to date with what is going on in class. 

              On School Rules:

              • At school, the teacher is the adult in charge, so undermining their rules (like allowing kids to bring phones or toys to school) makes it harder for them to do their job.

              • Stand out as a family that wants to be respectful and responsible. Of course, you are also modeling this for your child.

              On Communication Style:

              • Don't call teachers after 5 PM or at home! They're often parents too and need to do the same nightly routine as you.

              • There is only one teacher and multiple parents, so if you want to create a healthy line of communication, find out about how they like to communicate.

              • Don't email the teacher on the first day (or week, or month) of school asking how your kid is doing. Teachers appreciate it when parents give teachers space at the beginning of the year to get to know your child.

              • You don't need to let your teacher know everything about your child. They often act differently at home than at school, so how they relate to the family may differ from how they relate to classmates or their teacher.

              • Avoid talking negatively about teachers in front of your child. They're constantly looking for information from trusted sources, and an off-hand remark about them could sour the relationship.

              On Your Child:

              • Teachers are rooting for your child! They see past the standardized test scores and want kids to be curious and excited to learn.

              • Teachers can tell when kids aren't getting enough sleep so keep those Kindles and iPads out of their room at night if you have to, but make sure kids are getting a good night's sleep.

              • Model empathy. How your child treats classmates is often a reflection of how parents treat those around them, including teachers and school staff. 

              On Kids' Gear:

              • Make sure your child can use any gear you send to school. For example, practice zipping your kids backpack (and fly) as well as how to get in and out of their winter coat. That new romper might be cute, but can they go to the bathroom without help? 

              • Play by the rules they set, and be prepared with everything on the list sent to you. If they say no backpacks, only tote bags, two sets of clothes at school, 20 diapers, a bento box, and no thermos, do it, they have a reason. Imagine lunch in a preschool class where everyone has soup!

              • Check in their backpack occasionally. Clean it out and help your child organize it, so kids aren't spilling books, snacks, and sweaters all over the classroom.

              On Parent-Teacher Conferences:

              • Don't book the last conference in the parent-teacher conference spot.

              • Have questions ready and be respectful of the time allotted for the conference. That mysterious call a few minutes after the conference is supposed to end? Yeah, it's their buddy from down the hall.

              On Teacher Gifts:

              • Bring a small treat to show appreciation on occasion.

              • If you can help, ask if they need any classroom supplies every once in a while. Often teachers may be low on things like tissues or paper that they will end up paying for on their own.

              • Don't even think about anything with an apple on it. 

              • Teachers don't want gift cards, even Starbucks cards. Go for the cash.