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Before You Do Anything, Call the Teacher First!

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Students come home and tell parents the most amazing things.

"Today the teacher called us stupid.” 

Before you rush off to call the principal, take a deep breath and contact your child's teacher and give him or her a chance to explain. Children- especially small children- often misunderstand adults. (I am sure your kids have misunderstood something you’ve said, once or twice, right?) Instead of starting World War III, you might hear something funny.

“Streudel! I said the kids were full of streudel today!” 

Some parents are quick to call the principal or the district to complain about something they think has happened or been said. Teachers should be held accountable for their actions and words. They should treat your child with respect and consideration, and they should follow district rules and regulations. Of course, if there is an on-going problem or issue, and you have spoken to the teacher repeatedly and things aren’t changing, then, by all means, call the principal! And, if you have been working with the principal and things aren’t improving, then call the district office. 

Just talk to the teacher first.

I once substituted in a 3rd grade classroom. A student went home and told her mother that I had assigned 8 hours of homework! Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? It was preposterous on a number of levels, including that as a substitute, I follow the lesson plans left by the regular teacher. Instead of asking for clarification or a simple explanation from me (or using her own common sense), the mother called the principal and ranted and raved for half an hour about the horrible substitute (me) and the impossible work load. She claimed that her daughter was so upset about being assigned so much homework that she couldn’t do any of it. Talk about a sad, powerful family dynamic.

Calling the principal to “get the teacher in trouble” rarely works, anyway. Most principals believe and support their teachers. The principal will speak to that bad, bad teacher, but it’s not what you expect. The principal and the teacher usually stand in the hallway and complain about micromanaging, overreacting and bothersome parents. Ouch.

I've often thought of what my son's kindergarten teacher said to parents at Information Night, "I promise to believe half of what your child tells me about you, but remember to only believe half of what they tell you about me."


#2 Vandan 2010-02-21 01:52
I would sometimes pick my child up late for various reasons not thinking to tell the teacher why. Instead my son's kindergarten teacher asking me what is going on, she had the principle come and address the issue. I feel very violated because the key to any relationship is communication and the teacher failed to this. The teacher and I have always had a good relationship ( I thought), so why was it hard for her to come and talk to me.
#1 kim 2009-11-23 16:14
You are correct. However, I make my parents feel welcomed to address me on any behavior that is unbecoming to their children. That's it!!! "THEIR CHILDREN". Teachers tend to forget this and in turn, respond to this situation as if they are nothing more than books on shelf. Thank GOD, my mother taught me better. She taught me that everyone has a mind that should NOT be tampered with. A child, especially someone else's child, should be respected. I have had 100% when it comes to my open door policy, which includes how I respond to someone's child. Thank you mom for teaching me to be a mom to my students.

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