I have two kids going into Kindergarten and a first time public school student going into 4th grade this year. My little girl, whom I have always homeschooled, and my baby boys are about to spend all day away from me, with teachers I have never met before in my life. Needless to say, emotions are running high. I’m nervous, excited, and feel a little guilty (for not homeschooling anymore). Plus, my boys have special needs – Both have albinism and are considered legally blind, and one is adopted and has Disinhibited RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) tendencies.
Because of these special needs and circumstances, I am about to sit down and write an email to their teachers… and, honestly, I have anxiety about it. I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot! What if their teacher thinks I’m “one of those moms” who doesn’t trust them, thinks they don’t know what they are doing, or is a helicopter parent?
Frankly, this anxiety is bull. Shouldn’t I be able to send info to my kid’s teacher without feeling guilty and without the teacher being defensive?
I know it’s unfair for me to assume the teacher will get defensive, but I’ve seen it happen. I know not ALL teachers will react that way, but I worry that it could happen to us and that is not how I want to start the school year. Of course I am still going to send that email, but I will do it with as much grace and sensitivity as possible.
This got me thinking about the teachers I know personally and I want to write a public note to all of you, on behalf of the parents who will send you emails this year.
To my teacher friends as we head back for a new school year:
First of all, I think you are all saints. You willingly spend your days in a classroom with two to three dozen energetic children. Although, yes, it is your job, I am grateful that you chose it and that you, undoubtedly, see it as more than just a job. Thank you for what you do. We parents that love our children enough to reach out to you about them, appreciate you tremendously.
Although, I am somewhat jumping up and down at the fact that all of my children are going to be at school all day for the first time ever, I’m also scared to death. You may have heard the quote about our children being like our hearts walking around outside our bodies. You may have even experienced this with your own child. Our children will spend 7 hours of the waking day away from us, and most of it will be with you. I am a nervous wreck and am already mourning the lost time. I have other options – I could homeschool them, enroll them in private or charter school – I don’t NEED to send my kids to school for any reason other than I think it’s best for their education right now. All that to say, it takes a lot of trust for us parents to send our children to school. You have to know, that means we trust you.
So when you get an email from a new parent, don’t get that sinking feeling and assume we just want to complain about something you did wrong, or we don’t think you are qualified to teach our children. We know you are completely qualified to teach all kinds of children. BUT – These are our babies and we know them. We want you to know all about them too because we want what is best for them.
When you get that email, please don’t be defensive. We know you spent a lot of time and thought on your lesson plans so if we reach out to you about an assignment (or anything else, really), it’s not because we assume you didn’t think about how it might affect our children that are adopted, are on the spectrum, have PTSD (or any number of things), it’s because we think it’s important. Honestly, we think our children’s feelings are more important than yours. I think all any parent wants is for you to agree. It might be a pain to change your carefully thought out lesson plan, and we know that. You may have thought of every circumstance and work to be as inclusive as you know how. All we want is for you to hear us out, consider that we know our children’s needs, and consider what we have to say, without being defensive.
We know you spend your own hard-earned money on your classroom and supplies. We know that teaching is sometimes a thankless job that some consider a free childcare option, but that’s not me, and that’s not those of us who reach out to you about our children. We know you love our children and want what is best for them….But I promise you, I love my children more than you do and I know what is best for them.
So the next time you get an email from a parent, please consider the fact that we appreciate you, we are in this with you, and we only want what is best for our kids. And appreciate the fact that you finally have one of those “involved” parents. 🙂
Caring Parents Everywhere
The Ugly Truth
These days everything has to come with a disclaimer so we don’t all get offended, right? I know some parents suck. Some are rude, treat their children terrible, make excuses for their kids, don’t buy the necessary supplies, and will send hateful emails. I even venture to say some teachers suck too. Most likely, if you are a parent or teacher reading this, you aren’t one of the crappy ones.
I don’t mean for this letter to be polarizing, sarcastic, or flippant. I simply want my teacher friends to appreciate the emails and notes – it means we care and we want to work with you to make our children’s education and time spent with you the best it can be.
Here’s to a new school year! Let’s make it the best it can be by showing each other grace and focusing on our children!
Parents, do you send info and emails to your kids’ new teachers? Teachers, do you appreciate it when parents are involved?