Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Plea to Teachers at back-to-school time

So far, I have spent 15 years as a parent in formal schooling (ie. not counting nursery school, which was a co-operative - meaning that we had to assist in the classroom, serve on committees etc). Needless to say, I'm a bit tired when it comes to "parental involvement".

My Little Guy (who, at just turned 9 is up to my shoulder) is going into 4th grade/Year 5. Here are my rules preferences:

- No Parent homework. OK, I understand the stuff where we have to help the kids, (which, quite frankly, is not always welcome either) but last year we I was given my own homework every now and then. I don't want to see anything that begins with "Ask your parents..", or "Have your parent..", or even "Interview a parent". This parent is very likely to explode then give you an "F" on that assignment.

- Believe half of what he tells you happens at home and I'll do the same with regard to the classroom.

- I am not a teacher. OK, my mother was/is and my mother-in-law was/is, but it's not like osmosis; I don't know how to teach children. Nor do I understand how you teach math(s) these days, so if there are problems, don't expect miracles at home. (And - dare I say it, I am paying through the feckin' nose for my kids' education. If I had wanted to teach them myself, .........)

- The fear factor is not the same. OK, he's afraid of me but only in a "No Wii" kind of way; if he doesn't understand something he's going to get weepy and I'm going to be the Witched Witch of the East. With you, he still has to be respectful and he'll probably knuckle down and try.)

- Timing. If you need a costume, papier mache artifact, food item due by a certain date (especially the next day), tell ME not him.  Notes in backpacks, pinned to t-shirts or otherwise transported by children are pretty much destined for that big 'ole black hole.

- general, is best done with me. E-mail preferably, unless it's something "sensitive"    Just don't communicate with me via the Little Guy and expect me to get the unbiased, complete and unedited version.

And in case you haven't done the sums, I have another 9 years to go of this - making it 24 consecutive years in all. And that's before you count the college years.



  1. Oh, how I agree with this list and I am a teacher as well as a mother!!

  2. Would you mind off I copied this and sent it to The Boy's school...they don't seem to get it when I talk to them!

  3. Is your son excited about starting school?

    I had 3 children in school in America (I'm American, now live in England), and now have 3 grandsons (twins, age 11 and their older brother who is 13) starting back to school today, as a matter of fact. They can't wait!!!

    I loved school when I was growing up. Even at age 57, I still get a warm fuzzy feeling around this time of year. All I want is a big new box of crayons! :-)

  4. Yep, totaly agree with you there. Glad to be out of it, now looking forward to having grandchildren at some point.......


  5. Tea - He's having such a blast that he has hardly mentioned school although he did get the teacher he had wanted so that brought a whoop of joy!

    Tattie - Feel free to copy and paste wherever it might be of help. I haven't the backbone to do the same though!!!

  6. I don't mind so much being interviewed but hate any homework which involves making a craft. I plan my week quite carefully and do not appreciate impromptu visits to Staples to buy supplies! Even more annoying was camp where we had to suddenly supply a white t-shirt in a large ziploc bag for tie dye craft, but in the end it never got used!

  7. Oh, I love these, even though my two are well out of schools (just one year of university to go with Daughter - hurrah!), especially the 'I'm not a teacher.' Brilliant.

    Helena xx

  8. Woohoo I am so with you on those - can I borrow for my post? This sort of stuff so spectacularly winds up my ex who thinks I should sit with my children for two hours a night each that I can't resist.....Lx

  9. Maybe the expectations are lower in Britain, but I never did much apart from a little bit of help with homework when he was stuck.

    Son's current school are really good at communicating by email, and while parental involvement is encouraged, particularly with things like the Christmas fayre, it's not obligatory.

    There are some parents who seem to spend their life at the school, but I just let them get on with it. In fact, I was parent rep for my son's year last year, but one of those supermums told me she was taking over this year, despite me having said I was happy to carry on, and her being parent rep for 3 different year groups! I think she just likes the power. Ah well, whatever.

  10. @ Toni - does it sound rude to you when Americans say "Have your parents do X..."? It does to me.

    I know it isn't meant to be rude, it's just the way it's phrased over there, but to me it sounds like you're ordering them to do something.

    Did it ever sound rude to you, or is it just me? I noticed it because you used it as an example, and it would sound particularly rude to me coming from a child. I'd probably reply with "Don't you tell me what to do,Young Man/Madam!" or something!

  11. Mrs Baum - good points and questions. I have to say that my kids go to a private school and they get a lot less homework than their friends at the local public school but they are in school an hour longer, so that may be it.
    "Have your parents" - I don't think it ever sounded rude to me, just strange. I use it now as an example because it's almost a polite way of saying "Get your parents...(to do whatever)..". Remember, I moved to a country where they don't say "please" as much as I did.


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