I don’t know about you, but I think teachers should make more money.
These days they are not only teachers but nursemaids, psychologists, safety experts, counselors, referees, interior decorators, and motivators.
They must be well versed in technology, trained for every emergency possible, and able to produce a quality education in just 6 hours a day, all on a shoestring budget.
They have a tough job.
And it’s probably not surprising to find that some of today’s best and brightest teachers only remain in their profession 4.5 years. But do you know what most teachers list as the reason they quit? “Issues with parents.”
I think that’s a shame. I think as parents (especially as Christian parents!), we can work together with teachers to provide our children with the best education possible.
Here are 7 ideas for making that happen:
1. Listen to advice. If a teacher gives you advice about your child, don’t fight it. Teachers are professionals – take and digest their advice like you would take the advice of any other professional, like a doctor or lawyer. “Sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light” (Prov. 6:23).
2. Don’t take it personally. Many of us as parents don’t want to hear anything negative about our child, but if we’ll listen and confront problems that teachers tell us about, it can help head off issues that could become much worse in the future. Be willing to make corrections as needed. “Whoever heeds correction is honored” (Prov. 13:18).
3. Get real. If you really want to help your child be successful in school, resist the urge to make excuses to the teacher for laziness or missing work, and instead help your child learn to establish a diligent work ethic when they’re young. Focus on solutions, not excuses. Your child’s teacher can be one of your greatest resources. “Laziness makes you poor, diligence brings wealth” (Prov. 10:4).
4. Land the helicopter. A “helicopter parent” is one who hovers over their child and then swoops in to save them every time something goes wrong. Don't be one! It’s okay for your child to suffer through trouble sometimes – it builds character and teaches life lessons. Especially as they grow older, be there to guide, not rescue. If their teacher gives them a 79 on a project, that’s what they got – instead of meeting with the teacher to negotiate extra credit for an 80, help your child learn what they could do better next time. “Though Jesus was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
5. Work together. Remember that teachers aren’t doing this job for money or fame – they do it because they want to help children learn. If there’s a problem, always do what you can to work with your child’s teacher for the best possible solution. Much of that has to do with your attitude as parent. Assume that you are on the same side – you both want a good education for your child. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1).
6. If you have an issue to discuss with your child’s teacher, do your best to be respectful of them (and teach your child to be respectful as well, if for no other reason than they are your child’s elder). Don’t treat the teacher as an enemy, and listen to their side (“To answer before listening— that is folly and shame” Proverbs 18:13). Remember how much work a teacher has to do in a day, and how many children are under their care. They are a living, breathing, person, with pressures and trials and a huge work load, just like you. Think how you would like to be treated in their shoes. “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12).
7. Be a help. Anybody can stand outside a school and point to everything that’s wrong with it or its teachers. How about being part of the solution? Volunteer in your kids’ school. Ask their teacher how you can help.
And lend support from home. Train your children to respect school, teachers, and rules. Take time every day to check their backpack for notes, instructions, permission slips, class newsletters, and the like. Make sure homework is getting done. Show up for parent-teacher conferences. Take an active role in your child’s education. “Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment….Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity” (Luke 6:37).