Teachers reveal the 7 things they wish they could tell parents — but can't

Associated Press‘Show compassion for teachers,’ said a high school teacher from Ohio who wished to remain anonymous. ‘We’re people too.’
  • Teachers revealed to Business Insider the things they wish they could tell parents – but can’t.
  • Teachers say kids will often lie to their parents about homework and class attendance. They would also caution parents against acting like over-involved, “helicopter” parents.
  • Here are the 7 things teachers wish they could tell parents.
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Teachers and parents can sometimes see very different sides of the same child.

Most parents strive to see the best in their kids. While teachers often also want their students to achieve, they aren’t as keen on making excuses for misbehaving children.

Read more:
THEN AND NOW: Here are all the ways being a public-school teacher has changed in the last 50 years

Business Insider spoke with a dozen teachers on the most common things they wish they could tell parents about their kids. Responses ranged from reminding parents that their children will often lie to cautioning them not to be over-involved “helicopter” parents.

(Business Insider verified the identities of all anonymous sources prior to publishing their responses. Responses are from K-12 public school teachers.)

Here are the 7 things teachers wish they could tell parents, but can’t.

If you’re a teacher with a story to share, email [email protected]

Don’t be a helicopter parent.

Ivan Marjanovic/Shutterstock

“You aren’t doing your children favours by being a helicopter parent,” said John, a middle and high school teacher from Pennsylvania.

Helicopter parenting describes mothers and fathers who hover around their kids by getting over-involved in schoolwork and what they do in their free-time. Two childhood development researchers coined the phrase in the 1990s, after US parenting transitioned from more hands-off to one that limits their child’s independence.

Today, mothers spend twice as much time with their kids and dads four times as much as they did 50 years ago. While active parenting is typically healthy for kids, some studies have linked childhood “hovering” with with college age mental health issues, largely due, psychologists say, to violations of the needs people have for experiencing their own autonomy and competence as they grow up.

“Failure is how we learn,” John added. “It’s OK to get a bad grade if you have earned a bad grade.”

Keep up with your child’s grades.

AP/Stephen J. Boitano

“We need to share the onus of your child’s grades and behaviour,” a high school teacher from Mississippi who wished to remain anonymous said. “I keep on top of my 100 students as best I can, but when it comes down to it, I physically don’t have the time to give a call home every time a student fails a paper or gets in an argument.”

The teacher said she understands parents – particularly from low-income areas – may not have the time to keep up with their kids’ grades, and would never yell at a parent for their child’s grades. Yet they have found parents sometimes blame her for not giving their child enough attention, which she says is unfair.

“If we both want what’s best for the student, I think we’ve got to be civil in understanding the strains present and working together toward that goal,” they said.

Recognise that if your kid failed or got a bad grade, they probably deserved it.

Associated Press

Many teachers said that they would tell parents not to blame teachers if their kids received a bad grade.

“Stop caring about grades so much,” said a middle school teacher from Connecticut. “If your child gets a C, it’s because they deserved it. I’m not grading your kid on a impossible standard, in fact I’m probably grading pretty easy.”

“If your kid never shows up to class and has never handed in an assignment, they do not deserve a passing grade,” said a teacher from New York who wished to remain anonymous.

“It’s ok that your child made a ‘B,'” said a high school teacher from Texas who also wished to remain anonymous. “Quit telling me your child is a genius and has always made ‘A’s.’ Your child is average, and that’s not a horrible thing.”

Understand that your kids will sometimes lie to you — it’s a part of growing up.

Associated Press

“Your child is not innocent,” said Andrea, a middle school teacher from New Jersey. Children are bound to make mistakes while they’re growing up, she said, but blaming teachers instead of encouraging your kid to take responsibility won’t allow them to learn.

“If your child is not doing well in a class and blames it on the teacher, your child is lying,” said a high school teacher in Virginia who wished to remain anonymous. “Your child is probably sleeping through class, or on her cell phone, or talking non-stop to everyone around her, or refusing to do any work, or not studying.”

Be kind to teachers.

Associated Press

“Show compassion for teachers, we’re people too,” said a high school teacher from Ohio who wished to remain anonymous. “Teachers are not out to get students. We all want what’s best for your kid even if they don’t think so.”

Realise your child isn’t perfect.

Associated Press

“Your child is not perfect!” said an elementary school teacher from Virginia who wished to stay anonymous. “Don’t tell me they don’t behave the same way at home as they do at school.”

Advocate for your kids.

U.S. Air Force/Mark Herlihy

A K-5 teacher from Illinois said she wishes she could tell parents to speak up for their kids if they feel they are not being treated fairly.

Parental “voices and involvement WILL determine their child’s success,” the teacher said. “A teacher is at the bottom of the food chain. We need to be careful what we say to parents.”

“Please, ask us for help,” said an elementary school teacher from Texas who wished to remain anonymous. “Don’t expect me to remember to tell you. In a perfect world with only 20 students, that’s doable, but I have 78 students.”

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