Are Teachers Writing a Book (about me)?

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

Lily Tomlin

There were many times in the education of my children that I wondered why their teachers were so interested in me and our home life. I would get questions about whether my children shared a room, what kinds of foods did I offer at dinner, and whether or not we had a pet. I started to get a complex that teachers were stalking me!

Now that my children are grown, and I have the benefit of working in a profession alongside amazing teachers, I realize those teachers were doing their job. Every morning when parents come to drop off their children for preschool….. I see that kids don’t necessarily leave what’s going on at home at home when they attend school. I have witnessed many kids who are distracted by their home life, so much so, that their learning is diminished.

Kids are deeply affected by much more than we adults realize. At my school, I have witnessed kids melting down over a pet that is getting “fixed” during the day. First off, the children don’t think their pets are broken! Right?! Those same kids are likely to be wondering if those beloved pets will be the same when they get home from school. Children are famous for their creativity and this spills into their thoughts about situations we see as simple and small. Is Grandma going in for a little surgery? Kids won’t think surgery is minor , and they will be thinking about it at school.

When my youngest child was in third grade, my father’s Parkinson’s disease was rapidly affecting his health, and my family dreaded the inevitable result. Even with my effort to protect my 9 year old from the fear I had of losing my dad, my little boy felt the stress in our home. He finally gave in to the emotion he was experiencing and had a serious melt down at school. Fortunately, he had a teacher who knew something was off with him and she had asked me what was going on at home. When the meltdown began, she was ready and able to comfort my child.

Teachers are so much like parents during the school day. They wipe noses, give high fives, hand out discipline, and care about the welfare of the children in their class. When this light finally clicked for me, I no longer worried about teachers and their insatiable interest in my family. I willingly answered all the questions about family including all of our pets (including a chameleon). I realized that I wanted teachers to know who my child is. After all, who am I to think I don’t need help raising a human being?

I challenge you to provide additional information to your child’s teacher that will allow for the student/teacher relationship to be meaningful to your children. Raising children truly does take the effort of an entire community, so make your community large and make it a force to be reckoned with. Once you commit to growing the community that is helping to grow your child, the questions a teacher asks you at conferences or parent pick up won’t seem like such a big deal. I promise you….. teachers aren’t stalkers. They simply care about your child!

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