The Top 10 Things Teachers Want From Parents


Do you know what teachers want from parents? Hint: It's not apples. Learn the keys to active participation and making the teacher's job a bit easier.

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By Amy Bizzarri

It takes a village to raise a child. We can't expect teachers to be the only ones educating our children. Research proves that when Mom and Dad become involved in their kid’s school life, grades, behavior and emotional well-being improve. So, if you want to make the teacher’s job a little easier, check out these 10 things teachers want from parents.

Read to Your Child

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading, is reading aloud to children,” stated the U.S. Department of Education Commission on Reading in 1985. Grab a book, any book, and read to your child at least three times a week. You’ll plant the seeds for a lifetime of reading.

Get to Know the Teacher

You should be on a first-name basis with your child’s teacher. Ask for the best way to get touch with him or her, such as by phone or email. Be there for open houses and parent-teacher conferences. Don’t be the parent who only shows up when you have a bone to pick.

Encourage Friendships Outside of School

Classroom learning works best when solid teamwork is in place. Because there isn’t always time for children to get to know one another all that well at school, make sure that your child spends time with classmates outside of school by encouraging playdates and after-school activities.

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Get Involved With the School

Attend school council meetings. Join the school’s PTA. If you work and these school-oriented meetings are scheduled during the day, ask if meetings can occasionally be held at night. Your voice counts—sometimes, it's the only voice that will advocate for your child. When parents unite, they can more readily affect changes in schools.

Take Part in School Events

Don’t miss school events such as talent shows, science fair nights and seasonal potlucks. Even if your child isn’t playing on the team, why not attend a school sporting event? You’ll help foster an appreciation of school life. Not only will you be helping your child be successful in school, but you'll also be making memories with him along the way.

Bring Learning Home

There are always learning moments to be made away from the classroom. Bake a cake and teach the basics of measurement. Have your own spelling bee night. Take a weekend trip to an aquarium or museum. Watch an educational, family-friendly movie. Bringing learning into the home is a great way to foster future success.

Value Education

Show your child that learning is a lifelong adventure that doesn’t end once school is over. Read a book. Take a class that interests you. Tell your child about the learning experiences you’ve had on the job. Bond over educational books, movies and TV shows.

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Don’t Be So Patient

“Patience is for martyrs,” says Lisa Holewa, co-author of What Kindergarten Teachers Know. When you enable your child’s urges at home, he may not get with the program at school. When you take your child to an appointment, for example, be on time … no matter what cool thing may have caught your kid’s attention. You’ll suffer fewer headaches in the meantime.

Teach Your Kid to Clean Up

Are you usually the one putting the toys back on the shelves? If your child doesn’t clean up after himself at home, he’s sure to be messy at school. Have him stow his toys neatly away after playtime. Teach him to make his bed, take out the trash and wash the dishes. When that’s the standard at home, keeping a clean desk at school won’t seem like a big deal.

Do Step-by-Step Teaching at Home

When you teach a lesson or begin an activity with your child, pretend you’re teaching a class. Make sure you have his full attention, go step by step and give very clear instructions. “Plan to stand physically near your child, bend down, and get eye contact,” Holewa says. Your little guy will learn to follow directions, and he won’t be the one lagging behind at school.

When you get involved with the school, do some teaching of your own and lead the learning cause by example, you become an invaluable part of your child's success in and out of school. The teacher will thank you, and one day, your child will too!

Want to get involved even more? Helping the teacher is a great way to show your passion for your child's education. Click here for 12 ways to help your child's teacher.