13+ Things Your Child’s Teacher Won’t Tell You

A look inside a teacher's mind could help you understand lesson plans and maybe even guide your child to perform better.

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1. If we teach small children,

1. If we teach small children,
don’t tell us that our jobs are “so cute” and that you wish you could glue and color all day long.

2. I’m not a marriage counselor.

2. I’m not a marriage counselor.
At parent-teacher conferences, let’s stick to your child’s progress, not how your husband doesn’t help you around the house.

3. We’re sick of standardized testing

3. We’re sick of standardized testing
and having to “teach to the test.”

4. Kids used to go out and play after school

4.  Kids used to go out and play after school
and resolve problems on their own. Now, with computers and TV, they lack the skills to communicate. They don't know how to get past hurt feelings without telling the teacher and having her fix it.

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5. When I hear a loud belch,

5. When I hear a loud belch,
I remember that a student's manners are a reflection of his parents'.

6. Your child may be the center of your universe,

6. Your child may be the center of your universe,
but I have to share mine with 25 others.

7. Please help us by turning off the texting

7. Please help us by turning off the texting
feature on your child's phone during school hours.

8. Guys who dribble a ball

8. Guys who dribble a ball
or a couple of hours a game can make up to $20 million a year. We educate future leaders and make about $51,000 a year.

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9. We take on the role of mother,

9. We take on the role of mother,
father, psychologist, friend, and adviser every day. Plus, we're watching for learning disabilities, issues at home, peer pressure, drug abuse, and bullying.

10. Kids dish on your secrets all the time-

10. Kids dish on your secrets all the time-
money, religion, politics, even Dad's vasectomy.

11. Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals.

11. Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals.
A gift card to Starbucks or Staples would be more than enough. A thank-you note: even better.

12. We love snow days

12. We love snow days
and three-day weekends as much as your kid does.

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13. The students we remember are happy,

13. The students we remember are happy,
respectful, and good-hearted, not necessarily the ones with the highest grades.

14. My rule for hormonal middle-schoolers:

14. My rule for hormonal middle-schoolers:
Keep your hands where I can see them.

15. My first year of teaching, a fifth-grader actually threw a chair at me.

15. My first year of teaching, a fifth-grader actually threw a chair at me.
I saw him recently, and he told me he just graduated from college. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.

16. You do your job, I'll do mine.

16. You do your job, I'll do mine.
I have parents who are CEOs of their own companies come in and tell me how to run my classroom. I would never think to go to their office and tell them how to do their jobs.

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17. We don’t arrive at school 10 minutes before your child does.

17. We don’t arrive at school 10 minutes before your child does.
And we don’t leave the minute they get back on the bus. Many of us put in extra hours before and after school.

18. We are not the enemy.

18. We are not the enemy.
Parents and teachers really are on the same side.

19. The truth is simple:

19. The truth is simple:
Your kid will lie to get out of trouble.

20. Encourage your child to keep reading.

20. Encourage your child to keep reading.
That’s key to success in the classroom at any age.

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21. It's their homework, not yours.

21. It's their homework, not yours.
We can tell the difference between a parent helping their child with homework and doing it for them (especially when they’re clueless in class the next day).

22. Teaching is a calling.

22. Teaching is a calling.
There’s not a teacher alive who will say she went into this for the money.

23. Check their homework.

23. Check their homework.
Just because your child says he did his homework doesn’t mean it’s true. You must check. Every night.

24. We get jaded too.

24. We get jaded too.
Teaching is not as joyful as it once was for many of us. Disrespectful students and belligerent parents take a toll on us.

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25. Talk to your kids.

25. Talk to your kids.
Parents give their kids the pricey gadgets and labels, but what kids really crave is for you to talk to them. Kids want to know you are interested in their lives.

26. We spend money out of our own pockets.

26. We spend money out of our own pockets.
Teachers often buy things our students need, such as school supplies and even shoes.

27. Supportive, involved parents are crucial.

27. Supportive, involved parents are crucial.
But some are “helicopter parents”—they hover too much.

28. Having the summer off is great, but...

28. Having the summer off is great, but...
Many of us have to take on extra jobs—teaching summer school, tutoring—to make ends meet.

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29. Academics aren't everything.

29. Academics aren't everything.
Success is not achieved by just making kids memorize flash cards and prepping them for an Ivy League school. Sensible parents know there is a college for every kid and responsibility and good citizenship are what really drive success.

30. Nobody says “the dog ate my homework” anymore.

30. Nobody says “the dog ate my homework” anymore.
But we hear a lot of “I left it on the kitchen table.” And then Mom will send in a note to back up the story.

31. Don't ask us to do your dirty work.

31. Don't ask us to do your dirty work.
We wish parents would make their kids own up to their actions instead of pressuring us to bend the rules.

32. We know you mean well, but...

32. We know you mean well, but...
Please stop doing everything for your child and allow them to make mistakes. How else will they learn? Kids are not motivated to succeed because they feel their parents will bail them out every time.

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33. There are days when I just want to quit.

33. There are days when I just want to quit.
But then that one smile from that one kid changes it all. 
Sources: American Federation of Teachers; interviews with elementary and middle school teachers in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and Texas.

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