Do teachers need to tell parents everything? When I first started teaching 20 years ago, I really thought that was the right thing to do. I would tell parents every time I called their child’s name to be quiet, to sit up or stop fooling around.
As my teaching years went by, I started to realize that not every parent wants to know every little thing. There are some who do want to know all that goes on and there have been parents who actually told me that they want to know everything.
I began to realize that parents, especially those paying for their kids’ education, really just want to know how they are doing academically. They do not really want a negative report every day. I learned this when I was teaching the upper grades. I had a girl who would just not want to do her work, was always late, and would put her head down on her desk often because she was always tired.
As a teacher, I thought it was the right thing to tell this to her mother every day when I saw her at dismissal time. After a while, I could tell that this mother was getting a little annoyed with me giving her a negative report every day about her daughter.
After all, we did learn in college that it is very important to communicate with parents. I graduated over 20 years ago and many things have changed now. The parents of today are very different than the parents of years ago. Perhaps a long time ago, parents were interested in their child’s behavior but it seems like now many just want to hear about academics and how they are excelling.
Then, another year, I had a child in my class who could not focus very well. The teacher who had her the previous year warned me that the mother did not want to hear anything about her issue because she feels that she is young and will outgrow this problem. Therefore, when I met with this mother for our parent teacher conference, I just focused on her academics more. I did have to mention about her distractibility issue though because I could not avoid the subject completely. I talked more about her work and what she liked and how she got along with her classmates.
If you are a new teacher, you will get to know your class parents very quickly. You will know which parents want to only be told about their child’s academics and which ones expect an in depth report on a regular basis about behavior or other issues. Keep in mind that keeping in touch with parents is very important as an educator. With today’s technology, it is a lot easier to communicate.