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What teachers really want to tell parents

September 13th, 2011

With almost 3,000 comments, the article “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents” by Ron Clark on got [mostly] agreement from teachers and parents alike.

As a parent, are you guilty of any of the issues that Clark says about parents who do not respect the work of the teacher?

Here is one that I can relate to:

If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don’t want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you’re willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.

I often think that I know what’s best for my child, but I have to admit that the teacher who sees my child almost everyday can likely give valuable insight and advice.

How about this one?

And parents, you know, it’s OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don’t set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It’s a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.

What about IF the teacher is unfair, or that the project really does deserve a higher grade compare to other projects you see? I still agree with Clark that we should not try to rescue our child from an unfair teacher.

We have come to think of school as grades, but school is about education. And part of that education is building character and dealing with life such as unfairness and disappointment. If the teacher is unfair, I would encourage my child to talk to the teacher herself and learn from the experience. That is more valuable than the A that she may get.


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  1. Amen! Aren’t we supposed to prepare kids for real life? In real life there are consequences to your actions or lack of action. In real life mommy can’t hold your hand and pull you out of every mess you make.

  2. Yes, and they learn from real life to not repeat their mistakes.


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