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Parent-Teacher Relations

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Mister Teacher's re-posts his back-to-school "Welcome Letter to Parents"—which has apparently become something of a Web classic. A sample:

Homework is to be done tonight it is assigned—BY THE CHILDREN! We know that you mean well, but you're really not helping if you don't know your long division from your lines of symmetry. (You know who you are)

P.S. to new teachers: Don't really use this letter.

2 Comments

You know, things like this make me really sad. First, it is terribly discouraging as a parent to read about how you are being disparaged in the teacher's lounge (and then blamed for not being supportive). Second, I have actually received communications from teachers that come very close to this one, satiric though it may be. I cannot tell you how many "welcome" speeches I have sat through that gave backhanded compliments to those of us who showed up (implying that we are a better sort than those who did not show up--never mind the many things that interfere, such as late notices, inconvenient times and little to no content to the meetings).

School starts this week, and I can expect about five sets of classroom expectations to come home from five different teachers asking that I sign and return. Makes me wonder why they can't all get together and come up with a standard set of expectations--and whether that might not help students in meeting those expectations and parents in supporting them. There will be endless invitations to write out by hand my name and address and that of each student, along with three phone numbers and three other adults who can be reached if I am not available. Can't the transportation department and the school and the cafeteria and physical education and the nurse all share a database on some of this stuff? Particularly considering how hard it will be to ensure that any single piece of paper actually gets handed to an appropriate adult once it gets to school?

I recall the tutor who complained that my child always came to her closet (you couldn't really consider it a classroom) without a pencil. I handed her a box of pencils that I happened to have with me and suggested that she keep them there for him. She was aghast--it had never occured to her that it was simpler to maintain a cache of his supplies than to fight a daily battle with a disorganized middle schooler to see that he brought them with him. These are the kinds of things that parents get phone calls and notes about! It has nothing to do with the PS3 or WW-whatever on weekends (neither of which are things that exist in my house). Sending supplies to school is like dropping them into a deep, deep well. We parents could use a little support on the school end.

I have never had a problem with not doing my children's homework for them. I do have a problem getting sucked into feeling unfairly treated when homework that I worked hard to see that my child actually completed gets reported as a D or an F because it was handed in late, or not at all. I take it personally, although maybe I shouldn't--but I have never had a teacher tell me, "this isn't your fault, let's see what we can do to improve upon this."

I realize that Mister Teacher must have meant this in good-hearted fun. It just doesn't feel that way on the parent side.

From a soon to be teachers stand point, I think this is compelety fair what this letter said. I agree Mr. Teacher when he says that doing the homework for the child takes away from their learning opportunities. Now I would not mind if the parent were to help their child with a problem in math or something or if their child had a project do. But it is very easy to tell when a parent does their child's homework. We as the teacher know what areas they stuggle in and if they bring back something that they did not understand in class its kind of obvious.

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  • EMily-Anne Williams: From a soon to be teachers stand point, I think read more
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