Friday, February 22, 2013

Words of Unnecessary Wisdom

Today, our Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is right up my alley. 

Finish the Sentence Friday
 
 
I have advice for people running through my head at all times.  I'm a problem solver.  I see someone with a problem, solutions instinctively start flying through my head.  I'm not judging in any way (usually).  It can be a silly, fleeting problem or a more difficult problem a parent is having with her child.  Strangers, friends, family.  It doesn't matter. 
 
Fortunately, I don't open my mouth and tell people how to solve their problems.  I am smart enough to know that such behavior would make me an outcast of epic proportions, shunned from all social gatherings, figuratively tarred and feathered by an entire community. 
 
For today's FTSF, I have been given the chance to let loose.  Give advice without being asked.  Tell people what to do and not be told what a know-it-all I am.
 
Thank you, Kate, Stephanie, Janine, and Dawn for giving me the opportunity to open my filing cabinet of ideas.
 
So, after much unnecessary ado, I give you...
 
Speaking from experience, I'm going to give you a little advice on...
 
getting along with your child's teacher.  I have been a teacher for many years in many grades.  I have had children in school for 11 years.  I know of what I speak.   Having a good relationship with the teachers and staff (yes, all of them.  You never know when you might want/need something.) is going to make the school years so much easier and enjoyable. 

1.  When your child's birthday rolls around, DO NOT send in those blasted bakery cupcakes with the colorful icing piled a mile high.  Don't do it.  I don't care how much your child whines.  Do not send them in.  They are a nightmare.  Besides the fact that they make a mess, they are difficult for little hands to get out of the plastic container.  My first year teaching preschool, it was Colt's Day.  The entire class had white on.  The birthday boy's mother brought in chocolate cupcakes with blue icing.  Just don't do it.  I beg you.  Your child's teacher will be so happy if you bring in a simple sugar cookie.  Or a snickerdoodle. (Yum!)  It doesn't matter what the birthday kid wants.  Make the teacher happy.

2.   Send in food.  For one teacher, for the whole staff.  Perhaps a large box of bagels in the teacher's lounge on a random day.  Veggies from the garden are always welcome.  Slyly make sure the secretary knows it was you who brought it in.  She'll spread the word.

3.  If you are going to get the teacher a Christmas present, (and you don't have to.  Honestly, the vast majority of teachers would be perfectly fine if you didn't buy anything.) make it personal or useful.  Don't give a coffee shop gift card to someone who doesn't like coffee.  I have received so many candles and bottles of lotion that I can't/don't use.  Then I just feel bad.  An idea: let the kid pick the gift.  Half the time your child knows the teacher better than you do.  The teacher will appreciate it, even if it is a broken moose wall hanging (true story.  In preschool, Buttercup picked out a wooden moose, but when we got home, the antlers had broken off.  She insisted that her teacher would love it.  She was right.  It hung on the wall at school the whole year and the next.)

4.  Say thank you.  When a teacher does an activity that you thought was good, send her a quick email to say so.  If you only send emails to complain or bring up a problem, she isn't going to want to read your emails.  (Teachers are human.  How would you like to receive nothing but bad critiques?)  Even the worst teacher has some good qualities.  Look for them and mention them.

5.  Don't take everything your child tells you as fact.  Your child's teacher will then be less likely to believe everything your child says about you.

6.  Instead of hounding the teacher when your child messes up, hound your child.  For example: My children have a tendency to temporarily lose their minds in 7th grade.  They decide that as long as they get As on tests and are passing the class, homework is optional.  About one particular math assignment Buttercup failed to turn in on time, she said she was waiting for the teacher to tell her which problems on the page she was supposed to do.  I responded, "Your teacher did his job when he gave the assignment the first time.  You are the one who chose not to do it then.  He is in no way responsible for your choices, and he doesn't have to hurry to get you the information you want.  Do not ask him for the problem numbers again.  Simply do all the problems on the page."   Don't give the teacher more work.  She's not paid enough.

7.  Teachers spend a lot of money out of their own pockets to teach our children.  How about on a random day in October you send an email asking if the teacher needs anything?  Offer to pick up something she would like to have in the room.  Sometimes it is something as simple as a game for the kids to play at indoor recess. 

8.  Don't say negative things about the teacher when your child is around.  Sometimes you will be unhappy with the way a teacher handles a situation.  Sometimes you will just be unhappy with a teacher.  Period.  Telling your child how awful the teacher is will not help.  Your child will still have to sit in her room all day.  How do you think it will go if he knows you don't respect the teacher?

9.  Don't listen to other parents about which teachers are hard/difficult before you even have her.  Each child is different.  Each child will feel differently about each teacher.  Some kids will find a teacher to be mean, while others will find her to be fun.  Don't go in with preconceived ideas that will ruin your chances at a good year. 

I could go on an on.  Basically, just be nice.  Treat teachers and staff the way you want to be treated.

Although now that I've written this, I realize that I chose the wrong thing about which to give advice.  As far as I know, only nice people and homeschoolers read this.  (OK, that sounds bad.  My homeschooling readers are lovely people, too.)  These words of wisdom are completely unnecessary.

How about I just tell you to...

Have a lovely day!
 


24 comments:

  1. Hi there, great post! As a fellow teacher I can visualize all these scenes so clearly, even though I never taught small children, mine were seventh grade and up! Excellent "non-advice"! Let's have many more like this! So have a good day!

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    1. Thank you!
      I used to be afraid of "7th grade and up". Then I coached and taught them and have some of my own. Gotta say, I do like that age.

      Delete
  2. Loved the ending, but seriously as a former teacher (before having my two kids) and now a parent on the other end, I couldn't agree with you more on most if not all of these tips. Great job really and you are teacher yourself, so you definitely knew that already!! :) Thanks for linking up with us as always!!

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  3. DANG, I'm the parent who always brought in the biggest ass cupcakes with the most colorful icing for the birthdays. No wonder the teachers always ran when they saw me coming. Either that or the fact that I was PTA President.

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    1. I knew you would be!
      I was PTO president, too, for 2 years. I had a different problem. The teachers loved me, but fellow parents ran when they saw me, scared that I was going to ask them for help.

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  4. You can never be nice enough though, and it's good to hear practical examples of how to improve oneself :) Thanks

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  5. I DEVOURED that post. My oldest is in first grade, so we are at the very beginning of our journey with teachers. I know I will click with some more than other, and this post was genuinely helpful. You know what? In my opinion, you should give advice as much as you want to! You're good at it!

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful.
      True, you will definitely click with some teachers more than others. The ones you don't click with require you to be even nicer.
      Thank you!

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  6. Oh, the cupcakes! I tell every single parent that cupcakes are a waste of money, because preschoolers seldom do more than lick a little frosting, smear it all over their clothes, face, hands and table, and make a crumby mess out of the cake part. And cupcake crumbs DO NOT sweep up. I try. Really, I try. Bring anything they like for birthday snack, I say. Bring oreos, if they like oreos. Bring Cheetos, if that's what they like. Only 2 or 3 ever take my advice.

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    1. Those darn cupcake crumbs are the worst!! Worse than sand.
      After that first year, I then made it very clear at the parent orientation meeting that parents were not to bring them. I even brought some cupcakes to the meeting to demonstrate and help them remember. It worked. Not one cupcake ever entered my room again.

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  7. "Be nice" was the only rule my daughter's kindergarten teacher set, since it covered everything. I thought the teacher made the rule for the kids, but maybe it was for the parents.

    You wrote a great list. I would add: If possible, volunteer regularly in the classroom.

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    1. I pondered what to say about volunteering and decided that it needed its own list. So many things to say about volunteering.

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  8. I couldn't agree more. There are, as in any group, the monsters that teach (I can remember one that came into class the first day, slammed the door, threw a piece of chalk into the wall shattering the chips of it among the students and screamed, "Shut your damn mouths. I'm here for only one year and don't give a damn if you like me or not. You'll do what I say or I'll flunk your butts ... it's that simple!" What a way to start the first period of the first day of seventh grade!), but they are far and few between. I think we all remember the teacher we fell in love with, as well as the one from which we learned the most. My cousin has taught in Indiana for close to 30 years, and has seen the changes take place that most of us haven't. She still loves teaching, but hates all the restrictions and politics that now accompany it. Great advice and great post!

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    1. Yikes! Yeah, that's a bad teacher. Thankfully, very rare.

      Teaching is very different just since I started 15 years ago. So many changes, and many are not for the better.
      Thanks!

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  9. Oh the presents. I taught in the ghetto, I got some interesting presents over the years. Me and other teachers used to go room to room and see who got the "best" present. My friend got a thong, that was declared winner.

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    1. Hahahahahaha! Awesome. I can't top that one!

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  10. Wow! This is great advice! I'm putting it on my FB page and pinning it.

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    1. Well, thank you very much. Glad you liked it.

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  11. Great advice. I come from the family of teachers and I agree with ya.

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    1. Thanks! I was hoping I wasn't the one odd teacher that these applied to.

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  12. I love this! My son is only 3 1/2 but is in a preschool autism class and I constantly wonder how I can appreciate his teachers (over the holidays, I sent Target gift cards). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of sending in a random lunch one day! I'm going to do it. I think they need it right now, too, as they have subs and it's been crazy. Thanks so much for the awesome idea!!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad you found it helpful. The teachers have always enjoyed the lunches we've brought in.

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!