Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for taking on the challenge of educating my kids this year. I know that it isn’t an easy job and that the pay probably stinks too. But yet you still manage to make it look somewhat easy.

As a parent of 7, I have had kids enrolled in the school system continuously for 17+ years. After this long, I couldn’t help but develop some ideas on how to make the school year smoother for both of us.

I will be dealing with approximately 25 individual teachers this year so here are some helpful hints.

  1. When calling me or writing a note don’t just say your name. I feel like a bit of an idiot when “Mrs. Apple” calls and I have no idea which child it may be in reference to.  Tell me that you are Jacob’s science teacher, Mrs. Apple. It will get the conversation off to a better start because I’m not racking my brain over who you may be instead of intently listening to you.
  2. Please,please,please write a grade level and/or appropriate subject on ALL papers that you send home.  Kids often don’t even know what papers they are bringing home. I spend too much time trying to identify who belongs to what. Open house and first week of school are the worst times for this. You have taken the time to write out a list of things that you need for your classroom  but without an idea of which teacher requested it, it will often be sent with the wrong kid. And field trip forms?! Ever tried asking “Who’s going to Legoland?” I get 3 or 4 “me” shouts.  Then I’ve got to try to narrow it down to the right kid. Not always an easy task.
  3. Hold my kids responsible! Don’t give them second and third chances unless I specifically send a note saying that there were extenuating circumstances involved. I am trying to raise responsible, respectful adults. I will catch them if they fall, but I will NOT hold them up to keep them from falling. This means that I expect them to be in charge of their own homework. They didn’t do it? No recess. No extensions on due dates. Lunch detention. Saturday school.  If a newspaper reporter decided to do his article on a coming hurricane tomorrow instead of today, would it be acceptable? How about if the accountant gets around to cutting your paycheck next week sometime?
  4. Call me, text me, tweet me, email me. Not necessarily in that order. I am available nearly 24/7 yet over the years I have heard that I couldn’t be reached. This is not entirely true. For some reason Teacher A can never get in contact with me, but Teacher B called me on a regular basis to discuss issues. They were mere feet apart in the same building. So if the phone doesn’t work for you, please utilize another method!
  5. Edline  I admit that edline is a last resort for me. This year I “only” have 5 kids enrolled in the school system. Going through edline for all of them is an all day affair and frankly I just don’t have the time. I would,however, like to see more edline usage for things like homework assignments and notes on upcoming events. Especially project details. If a project has been assigned and it is a week or more in length, please post the details on edline.
  6. Set up an email group for the parents in your classroom. In the past, the teachers that had the greatest response to volunteerism and the best communication, were the ones that did this. This way, if Anastasia forgets the spelling list her mom can get them from Lulubelle’s mom. If you need a dozen whatzits by morning you can send out an email and the parents will be more likely to see it and respond. When you email through the edline portal, I can not email you back. It ends up being one way communication when it needs to be two way.
  7. If you need my help with anything, just ask me. I am available more often than not but I just assume that other parents have already stepped forward. Most often parents of 1 or 2 kids like to get their volunteer hours in the classroom. If you find that you are needing extra help, tell me.
  8. This should go without saying, but PLEASE learn the kids’ names. My child has a first and last name just like everyone else in class. I find this happens to my kids in middle school more often than not. My middle schooler is boy #5 to go through the same school. All of my kids are 2 years apart in their schooling. They are all individuals. Yet they are often called by their last name or an older brother’s name. Unfortunately, this happens with twins too. I know a family with fraternal boys that had their kids called “twin” an entire school year. Yes the boys looked similar but they were not identical.


I hope these hints help to make the school year smoother in some small way. I am looking forward to an exciting new school year and together we can make it the best one yet.

Please feel free to comment on this post if you have anything to add. I’d love to hear from you.

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