Parents, Please Assume Positive Intent from Teachers

Child with teacher drawing in playroom

It’s the start of a new school year, this may be your first year of preschool or third year at an elementary school.  Where ever your child is in their school career, there is always the possibility of your child having difficulty in the classroom or with the program.  When this happens, it is often the teacher bringing the issue to the parents’ attention.  Unfortunately many parents first response is to kill the messenger.  This is an unproductive way to start.  Better for parents to take a deep breath and realize the teacher is almost always also working with the child’s best interest at heart.  The teacher may be wrong, there may be great disagreement about how to move forward but they are likely coming from a good place.  Believe me, I preach this to teachers as well.  Parents almost always are working with good intent.

When I taught preschool fulltime we had a 3 1/2 year old that was exhausted and fell asleep the minute he laid down at naptime everyday.  By state guidelines, he was not to be given any activity for the first 30 minutes to keep him awake and was then allowed, if he fell asleep, to sleep the full two hour rest period.  This made the parents unhappy because on days he slept the full two hours, he was wide awake at home until 11:00pm despite the consistent 9:00pm tuck-in time.  On weekends, he didn’t nap, made it through the day and fell asleep easily at 9:00pm.  The teachers weren’t trying to make life harder for this family, they were following the state guidelines.  The parents weren’t trying to ruin the teacher’s or their child’s day, they wanted a bit of sanity in the evenings at home.  Sure, it’s a difficult situation and one that didn’t work itself out until the child was in an older classroom with shorter nap requirements but teachers assuming parents want to exhaust the child and parents assuming teachers are just being rigid wouldn’t help the matter.

When there is a disagreement with teachers or the school, it is also good practice for parents to use their most positive language when speaking about this in front of their children.  If they are at all aware of the situation (and they are) it is best for parents to say things like, “We are working this out with your teacher.  She is being helpful,” or “We’ll make a good plan with the school.  These things take time.”  Rather than throwing the teacher or school under the bus.  However it works out, your child will likely be with the teacher in some way moving forward and you want them to keep a positive attitude with that teacher in particular and about school in general in the long run.

Just my two cents here.

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