What Parents Really Want From Teachers!

Everyone knows that a good parent and a good teacher gives a child a good foundation to discover the joy and the excitement of the world he/she lives in, they nurture and mold the young growing and curious minds-the minds that are longing to discover and conquer the world around them. How then could we fulfill our roles as adults, parents, and teachers to thrive to prepare our children to excel as young leaders of tomorrow?

Early years are crucial years for learning, and our children absorb more knowledge during their early years than any other time in their lives. Therefore, if we would build on a sure foundation in friendships, cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect, we must first appreciate our pupils for what they are, love them for their sake rather than for our own. Therefore, parents want teachers to:

Be a Role Model and a Leader

Set a good example-children copy what adults say and do! Model the behaviors you want to see from them-give feedback that helps children build more helpful behaviors and skills, learn comfortably, praise reasonably and express feeling naturally and positively; teach anger management, and give each child a fair shake and equal attention.

If you teach and or preach one thing and do the opposite you are not setting a good example! If you teach your students nonaggressive behavior, you should not be the one to use aggressive behavior as a discipline measure.

“Moral excellence comes as a result of habits; we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts”. ~ Aristotle

Morality, therefore, is viewed as the ethical behavior-the development of an understanding of right and wrong!

Teachers are role models and leaders from the eyes of the parent and that of your pupils. Part of teachers’ ethical and moral responsibility is to become a role model to your students, and moral reasoning is the cognitive aspect of morality that leads the person to make a moral judgment.

Therefore, respect my child, take interest in my child, and treat my child like an individual!

As you teach your pupils to respect you, you owe your pupils respect too!

According to Magda Gerber, a famous child therapist and infant specialist, respect for a child mean, “treat a child, no matter how young, like a fully human person rather than like an object”.

No matter how young the children, they do know the difference between good and bad! Children express emotions (good and bad) in relation to how they are perceived and or treated by adult, teachers, and or parents.

“If you make children happy now, you will make them happy twenty years, hence by the memory of it”. ~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

Modeling appropriate behaviors in your daily practices and communicate honestly and with precise clarity to give my child a chance to correct his/her wrong doings. Use respectful language, tone, and appropriate body gestures with my child to instill/pass on to him/her the teachings and the lessons you desperately want him/her to learn and or master!

Periodically, check your intervention practices and strategies to ensure that they are professional and they are re-directing the behavior, they are teaching problem-solving skills, they offer appropriate choices, and that logical consequences are recognized and justified. Contrary to that, you will be inducing signs of stress, anxiety, strong emotions (anger, aggressive behaviors) as self-defense.

“Above all, we shall not harm children. We shall not participate in practices that are emotionally damaging, physically harmfully, disrespectful, degrading, dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children”. (NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment, 2005).

In addition, “We protect children when we refuse to use strategies that are degrading or harmful or have the potential to harm or humiliate children”. (Marion, Guidance of Young Children, 2007).

You are Our Hero

Teachers are our heroes, and your civic duty demands so too!

“Teachers are everyday heroes. They inspire hope, nature dreams, and encourage success. They seek out potential and find ways to develop it. They coach the talented, comfort the troubled, reward achievement, and promote good character…their actions and personalities are remembered with gratitude and appreciation years, even decades, after a student moves on-proving that what teachers share are truly lessons for a lifetime…a good teacher is the perfect balance of firmness and understanding of guidance and freedom, of mentor and friendship”.

Be that teacher whom your pupils will remember for the rest of their lives. Having been a pupil myself in different times in my life (as a young pupil during my early years in school and adult-student during my adult years in school), I have come to admire what teachers do everyday to better the lives of their pupils, but also honor the memories they left in me, both good and bad!

My middle school teacher, Mr. Temba! Oh Mr. Temba, how I hated him, (as a teacher now, I hate to say that) but as a student then and even today as a parent that what I intend to call him-a hated teacher! Why? Mr. Temba contributed to my dislike of math subject and ultimately to my failure to the subject! His conduct towards certain students including myself during his math period did not support my learning math nor did it help to like his subject. He constantly insulted and humiliated me every day he entered the classroom-he used to call me to the front of class to answer some weird questions he may decide to pose to me or ask me to solve a math problem on the blackboard and whether I was able to answer his questions or solve the math problem in front of the class, he was sure to make an insulting remark-comment on how I looked that day, what I was wearing was this or that, and or just anything he could comment about me! His class to me was a toucher and a misery! He didn’t teach me with dignity and didn’t care about the fact that I was not making progress in math, and so, I struggled with math and became so bad with math that I couldn’t pass math, I failed the subject flatly and never liked mathematics again because of the experience I endured with this teacher’s conduct.

High school was my favorite years in school! My memories of my English Literature teacher are a delightful one! My English Literature teacher Mr. Mabala made me love English as a second language and was hilarious, inspirational, and contagious during the English Literature sessions-all of us in his class looked forward to his period! He not only made us laugh, he made us learn and love English Literature! The stories he told us, the books he read to us still sleeping in my memories-he taught with humor and dignity.

You see! Pupils will love the class and the subject because of how the teacher was able to teach and touch their learning instincts, how you engage your pupils as learners, believe in their unique ways of learning, their creativity and the knowledge you instill in them; then we will remember and talk about you even we grow old.

Teacher is the Environment and Environment is a Teacher

By saying teacher is the environment and environment is a teacher I mean that teachers are responsible to create a physical and emotional climate for learning and growth-to set-up both physical environment (Classroom management) and social-emotional environment, in this case, safe and healthy environment that facilitate your students’ growth and learning.

An appropriate physical design for the appropriate learning environment influence and encourage interaction and participation; it also fosters a positive social-emotional environment which means, it offers opportunities to address and respond to each child’s learning experiences and embraces different backgrounds students brings, including interests, experiences, cultures, languages and or learning styles.

During this year’s back-to-school day, my co-teacher decorated our classroom in a unique way that everyone thought it was too much, little we knew then that to some parents from different culture noticed the decoration and were delighted-it is reminding them what they are familiar with from where they come from and now in a foreign place and it made them happy and felt included. Surely it is the little things that make a big impact in the daily life of a child in school or home.

The social-emotional environment also includes the relationships and interactions between teachers and their pupils. The quality of respect, warmth, nurturance, acceptance, protection, responsiveness.

Many parents want teachers to take time to get to know my children-your pupils, and make effort to talk to my child, to work closely with my child for the benefit of my child rather than of your own or of your school; for you will find out that all students are longing for same things-treat them with warms and tenderness-warmth, nurturance, fairness, acceptance, protection, and responsiveness, of which all are qualities that help teachers establish safe and healthy relationships with their students.

We must not assume that all children are the same and have same learning needs and interests, and so teachers will respond to them uniformly and expect them to respond and react the same way to you.

When children have choices, they experience learning in different ways, eventually, they become the master of their own choices-the choices that in turn nurture participation, exploration, discovery, and talents.

Parents also want the teacher to be honest with my child-acknowledge both ability and inability to fully receive your teachings, but also find optimum and logical solutions to the challenges my child may pose to you.

More importantly, do not leave my child behind struggling himself/herself to understand you and what you are trying to teach him/her-strive to provide every child you serve an opportunity to build and develop a positive attitude and self-esteem towards learning which in turn validates not only their satisfaction but also yours.

One parent told me that she also wants teachers, “boost my children’s self-esteem and push them to strive, to help my children know that they can do anything they set their minds to achieve”.

Thus, teachers need, “to appreciate the vulnerability of children and their dependence on adults (as teachers) …to recognize and respect unique qualities, abilities, and potential of each child” …and therefore, “to support the right of each child to play and learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs of children with and without disabilities”. (NAEYC Code of Ethics, 2005).

Be Honest and Clear When Communicating with Parent

Parents want teachers to always be honest and clear when communicating with them about matters concerning our children. No matter the circumstances teachers should always be honest and clear, after all, isn’t what you teach and want your pupils to-be-honest?

If a teacher cannot be honest, I will doubt her/his judgment and treatment over my child!

“We shall make every effort to communicate effectively with all families in a language that they understand”. (NAEYC- Ethical Responsibility to families, 2005).

This means that teachers should make sure that families are well informed and understand the school and the programs their children are involved with.

In addition, teachers give proper and honest feedback, for it matters! Thus, “share information about each child’s education and development with families and to help them understand and appreciate the current knowledge base of the early childhood profession”. And, as families share information with teachers about their children and families, teachers should consider this information to plan and implement the program that will encompass the needs of the whole child.

The success of teachers depends largely on how well and effective your communication, cooperation, and collaboration with parents of the children you teach, for it is a two-way work relationship and partnership in nurturing the children’s learning.

Parents, therefore, want teachers to analyze situations, make reasonable judgments, and resolve problems as they emerge and as quickly as can along with involving parents in the process of finding a solution and or fixing the problem quickly.

“To recognize that children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships based on trust and respect”. ~(NAEYC)

Respect Diversity in Children and Families

One of being a good and an effective teacher is the ability “to recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society”. (NAEYC Core Values).

Never than before, our societies are increasingly becoming more diverse, and therefore, calls for teachers to have the knowledge and the skills to enable and master the teaching of young children who are diverse to enhance their socio-cultural and social-emotional interactions. When teaching young children, diversity must be embraced, accepted, respected, and responded to with dignity and respect so that teachers can address each child’s learning needs, interests, and or experience.

“To respect the dignity and preferences of each family and to make an effort to learn about its structure, culture, language, customs, and beliefs”. (NAEYC Code of Ethics, 2005)

Know Your Professional Role as a Teacher and Stay within the Boundaries of Your Role as a Teacher!

“To base program practices upon current knowledge and research in the field of early childhood education, child development, and related disciplines, as well as on particular knowledge of each child”.

Also, “to base activities, programs and academic curriculum on current knowledge of how children develop and learn”. (NAEYC Core Values).

Teachers are the star of the show, that their primary role is to provide developmentally appropriate learning environment-safety and meaningful learning to all children in accordance with the teaching practices developed by the education professional scholars/experts, and their best knowledge and skills they have gained throughout their professional development careers on how children learn and develop from different schools of thought to promote optimum learning for all children.

Parents want teachers to use their time they spend with our children wisely and professionally.

In average, American kids spend 943 to 1016 hours of instructional time in a school year-it’s an average of 180 days of school. That means our children are spending more learning time in Scholl than home and therefore, teachers have a more upper hand on how my child is doing in school.

Not only that parents are concerned about how their children are doing in school, whether they are learning and what they are learning, but also, they are concerned about teachers’ role and how some teachers use their role and their power as teachers to intervene when they encounter a problem with the student.

There is lack of honesty and transparency when a problem happens, there is an overreaction on what seems to be a minor misbehavior, and there are the punishments that do not fit or justify the action/behavior committed by the students!

Parents are concerned about the use of force in schools, and want teachers to involve parents quickly before the use of force on my child!

Children will always pose challenges to their teachers as they do to their parents, but teachers should act and respond as professionals who are educated and capable of using the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout their careers to find optimum solution that is within the boundary of acceptance especially when it is about disciplining the unwanted behaviors, specifically aggressive behaviors.

Some teachers have reacted aggressively to nonaggressive behavior incidents by students where they could use other positive discipline guidance strategies to problem-solving and conflict resolution; to de-escalate the situation and solve the problem instead of escalating the problem!

Parents want teachers to keep our children in class instead of issuing a punishment that takes them out of class during sessions! Each time you order a student out of the classroom during lesson time you take away their quality learning time, you deny him/her the opportunity to learn. This is not the best way to teach or discipline!

So, as a parent, I do not approve the disciplinary action of ordering student out of classrooms during sessions for minor misbehaviors, nor do I approve the use of force (Security Guard or Police on students)! It is harmful, it is humiliating, and it is degrading action because it has more negative impact on the student. Unless the student poses serious harm to others, teachers, or self. Aggressive force through Security Guard or Police should not be used on our children!

Teachers need to recognize their role and the powers they have over their students. Their actions can have an unimaginable impact on the child’s learning. Haim Ginott, a teacher, and a child psychotherapist described it as:

“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am a decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, a child humanized or dehumanized”.

Thank you for your time! Add Your Comments, Like it, and Sharing is Caring! Be sure to read the next one, What Student Really Want from Teachers!!!

I am an educator. I am a woman. I am a parent. I am passionate about teaching and learning things that made us whole and great!