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What Parents Want Teachers To Know

Even though he might seem average to everyone else, my child is very special to me. Look for what is unique about him.

Get to know my child -- and share the information with me. Children can act very differently at school, and I count on you for insight into understanding my child.

I worry about how my child gets along with other children and with her teachers. Is she a leader? Does she seem happy? Does she volunteer information, or do you have to call on her? Is she cooperative, well liked, awkward? Telling me she's doing fine isn't enough; give me positive examples of why I don't have to worry about her.

Don't overdo homework. I understand that homework is necessary, but too much of anything is a bad thing. Families have so little time to be together; evenings shouldn't be spent only doing homework. We need time to do other things together too. Also, be aware that you are not the only teacher in the school. My child has other teachers who give homework, too.

I know that mandated testing is important, but don't make it the focus of your classroom, or the only reason my child is at school.

Please don't talk negatively about my child to other parents -- or other teachers. Don't talk about my child at all if there's any chance he or other children might overhear.

What Parents Want Teachers to Know
About the Conference

As parents prepare to attend a parent-teacher conference, they told us, they hope their child's teacher knows:
* I am trying hard to be the best parent I can be. Give me encouragement, not a list of things my child needs.
* I am afraid you are going to tell me the worst about my child -- surprise me. Tell me something great about my child.
* I want to feel that you have time for our conference and are not just speeding me through.
* Try to be as thorough as possible in your explanations. Don't overwhelm me with educational jargon.
* I want to know that you know my child. Don't talk in cliches or make generic comments.

Have a "Back to School" evening for parents early in the school year so I can learn your expectations for my child. Parents can be your biggest supporters if we know your goals and rules in advance and can reinforce them at home.

Welcome me into your classroom. Parents have a lot to offer at all grade levels -- reading to children, talking about hobbies and careers, organizing parties, helping with bulletin boards, presenting slide shows on something you are covering in class. When we are welcome in your classroom, we are much more likely to support you and what you are doing.

Show you care by attending PTA meetings. Many teachers expect the PTA to provide extras for their classrooms, but don't bother to attend any meetings. Remember that the T in PTA stands for Teacher.

I worry that my child will become the victim of bullies. Please be vigilant and do not allow anyone in the classroom the opportunity to make fun of her.

Communicate. When there is a problem, please contact me before it becomes a major issue.

If you use an electronic gradebook, post your assignments in advance so I can make sure my child does what you assign. Also, post grades in a timely manner so I can find out if my child is falling behind before it's too late.

Remember that I am not a perfect parent, and you are not a perfect teacher, but we are working together for the best of this child.

I am trusting you with my most precious belonging. Please cherish him.

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