A List of Real Ways You Can Reduce Strain on Teachers

Original article posted on Medium.com

As a former teacher, there are a lot of things that I needed from parents and guardians that I didn’t always get.  This is a list of things that you as a parent or guardian can do to help your child’s teacher help your child to succeed.  Reducing the strain on teachers is a surefire way to make sure that your child receives the highest quality education possible.  When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, doesn’t your work suffer?  The same goes for teachers!

Here’s the list:

  • Advocate for your child, but don’t be a helicopter parent.
    • As the saying goes, everything can be good in moderation, but you can have too much of a good thing.
  • Back up the teacher when they are right.
    • The teacher isn’t always right, but when they are, they need you to be level-headed and support their decisions.  Your child looks to you first and your teacher second.  If you degrade your child’s teacher or complain about their decisions as unfair when they aren’t wrong to do whatever they’ve done, you’re teaching your child that their teacher doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  This can lead to all sorts of behavioral problems and if your child doesn’t have confidence in their teacher, then their investment in their education is diminished.
  • Encourage your child.
    • Your child needs your support and validation to develop confidence and invest in themselves.  If you put your child down or refuse to support their creative or educational endeavors, then your child will be discouraged and might just give up on learning altogether.
  • Volunteer at your child’s school.
    • Teachers have their hands full every single day.  They are responsible for anywhere from twenty to sixty kids over the course of a day (depending on if your school employs a specialization model where children switch classes every couple of hours) and that’s a lot of assignments and assessments to grade.  It’s also a lot of filing, a lot of cleaning, and a lot of organizing.
    • Your teacher will be incredibly grateful to you if you volunteer to help out, even if it’s just re-shelving books or reorganizing the science supply closet.  They will appreciate your help with grading simple assignments and will give you an answer key to speed up the process.
  • Buy School Supplies.
    • Teachers typically buy their own supplies for their classroom.  Some school systems have programs that provide some supplies for teachers, but oftentimes, this assistance just isn’t enough!
    • Pencils, I found, disappeared enough that I’m sure there’s a wormhole into which lost pencils fall.  They probably make up half of the junk world in Thor 3: Ragnarok.
  • Get involved in your government.
    • You don’t have to run for president to do this.  In fact, you’re more likely to be able to cause real change if you run for a local position relating to education, such as the board of education for your community.
  • Remind your child that your teacher is human.
    • Yes, we all know that our teachers are human, but sometimes we forget that our teachers make mistakes, too.  If they have made a mistake, and they apologize for it, forgive them and bear in mind that they didn’t mean your child harm when it happened.  If they have made a mistake, and they don’t apologize for it, bring it to their attention in a calm and rational way, and they will work to rectify it if they are reasonable!  If your child’s teacher doesn’t own up to the mistake or try to fix it, then go above them if you must, because your child deserves the best and deserves for your teacher to be fair with them.
    • Explain these things to your child so that they understand that mistakes that happen aren’t meant to hurt them or punish them.  Mistakes are just mistakes and their teacher is likely working hard to prevent themselves from repeating them!

Read my original article here on Medium.com.




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