EDITED.what have you always wanted to know about teachers but too afraid to ask? I added more to my list!
I'm currently a high school special ed teacher. I Co teach science but I've taught middle and elementary school special and Gen ed. Ask me anything.
My advice to parents:
1. Email me if you have a question or concern before you speak to a principal or someone else. 99 percent of the time its a simple misunderstanding or something your student didn't tell me and is quickly solved if you talk to me.
2. Be on time for meetings and don't waste my time. If I'm meeting with you after school, there's a good chance I'm staying past my contracted time and taking unpaid time away from my own family. I don't mind but please be on time for meetings and don't make me stay later by talking about things not relevant. I can't tell you how often I call a mom to talk about a low test grade and she goes on about her weight watchers meeting for 20 minutes. I care about you but we are not friends.
3. Understand your child may act differently at school, especially around their friends. If I'm calling you because of discipline, there's a problem. I don't have time to pick on kids or make stuff up and if I'm contacting you, its been an issue for a few days.
4. Understand I'm not perfect. I may make a typo occasionally or spell your Zack with a k like Zach with an h by mistake. If it doesn't happen all the time, show me the same courtesy you'd want me to show you and your child. I'm human.
5. If there's something that you think I need to know about your child, let me know! Don't assume I know! This is especially true at the start of the year while I'm getting to know your child. If the work load is too heavy, tell me and we can fix it.
6. Please understand your student probably has some homework everyday. If they come home saying they don't everyday they are lying.
7. Understand I have 180 students. I will do my best for all but I'm only human.
8. I wanted to add that if you see me out in public, remember that I'm an adult. If you see me drinking a glass of wine with dinner, wearing a swimsuit at the pool or seeing an r rated movie, don't lecture me or comment. Obviously I don't do anything illegal or immoral and I do hold myself to higher standards but I deserve a life too. ;-) also respect my space if you see me at Walmart buying tampons or eating dinner.
9. Please understand I can't have a parent teacher conference at Walmart. Its a public place without privacy and I want to focus on what I'm doing. Also don't call my house, personal cell or show up at my home unless. Don't ask to be able to do this. Yes, this happens. Contact me at the school if you need me.
10. Understand due to privacy laws I can't discuss other students with you. I may think Billy's girlfriend is mean and getting him into trouble but I can't say it.
11. Please don't speak ill of other teachers to me. I may think that teacher is a jerk too but I can't say it and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Talk to them or their boss.
12. If I do something well, tell me! Email or letters are best because we can use them in a portfolio. If you really like me, email my principal.
13. If you are picking your child up from an after school activity, please be on time! I am not paid to sponsor the clubs that I do and it is on my own unpaid non-contract time away from my own family, plus I also have to pay for the supplies we use for the club out of my own paycheck. I am probably tired and want to go home or other things I need to do. When you show up half an hour late or call Billy's cell phone and say you'll be there in an hour when you get done at the mall or done watching Judge Judy, I have to stay even later to wait for you to get there. It makes me mad and it means less time I have for my own life and my own family.
Do you have any advice for me on how to be the best teacher I can?