Training them how to treat us

Teachers are now busily planning for a productive 2020.  The kids are coming!

This focus on lessons, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment is commendable, but is unseen by the hoardes of parents who think that you’re still on holidays.  

Parents eh.  For all of the planning and professional expertise they remain as one of the most significant blockers for many Teachers just wanting to get on with their jobs.  Of course, we can accept this inconvenient reality … or we could do something about it.

The below is a simple template for a class letter.  I’ve written it from a Primary Teacher’s perspective this time around, but encourage any Secondary Teacher reading this to plagiarise it and adapt it however you need to.

Providing this letter to parents (while it may smooth the road for you) is actually to help our parents.  They don’t actually want to be in conflict with the school … but a relentless media that highlights only conflict, competition and right-fighting has conditioned them to think they must.  We can change that.  We can train our parents to treat us differently if they begin to see us as partners, friendly and education experts.

I’m firm in the belief that great teaching is 90% theft.  So, why not steal this letter as your first step into that productive school year.

Dear Parents,

I’m your child’s teacher – and I think I’m pretty lucky to be.

I’ve got some big plans for this year and any time you’d like to know more about what they are, I’m just an email away at <insert email address>.

I studied at <Insert University> and graduated in <Insert year> meaning I’ve taught now for <Insert number of years> in places like <Insert schools you’ve taught (or even done teaching rounds at)>.

My favourite things to teach are <Insert your favourite subjects> but the thing I get the most joy from is watching my students grow through learning.  You’ll find me to quite relentless about trying to get your child in the window between too hard and too easy as often as I can so that s/he can share that joy with me.

Personally, I’m into <Insert a couple of hobbies> and I’m rather the <Insert your sporting team or Netflix binge preference> tragic too.  

Finally, I saw a statistic recently highlighting that a child’s learning outcomes can be improved by up to 34% by a healthy relationship between both the teacher-student and teacher-parent.  I’d like your child to see us in healthy collaboration.

Perhaps that’s why respected educator Robert Pulgham said “Don’t worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

If you have any questions as we set about our quest of an awesome 2020 for your child, ask away.  Let’s do this … together!

Warm regards,
<Insert your name>