Friday, July 29, 2011

Parenting Advice from a Public School Employee

Kelly's Korner is hosting a Parenting Advice Day today. I realize I am NOT a parent. Although I have changed my share of dirty diapers, wiped up puke, and cleaned up spilt milk, kool-aid, and juice. I have been a public school employee since 1994. I subbed in every grade and every subject, taught 7th grade math and science, was a K-6 librarian, and now I'm a junior high librarian. My husband teaches Special Services and Math.

My advice is for parent's from an educational perspective.

*If you have a learning disabled or child with a physical disability. Be aware of the law and your child's rights! For example, if your child is diabetic, they need to have a 504 plan in place that outlines their special needs and how teachers are to deal with them. You are your child's best advocate! Use the internet and talk to other parents. Ask, ask, ask!

*Make sure your child takes their medicine every morning!

*If every single one of your child's teachers are having discipline problems with your child, don't just write it off as they don't like him. There is a problem. Little Johny may be wonderful for you at home but is a wild child at school.

*It is possible to have personality conflicts between a child and a teacher. Be aware of your child constantly saying they don't like a teacher and investigate. There are as many different teacher personalities as there are children. You may need to ask for your child to be moved. Take care of this the first month of school!!!! Please don't wait until April to decide it's time for a change.

*BE INVOLVED. Don't wait until report cards come out and then be shocked that Little Susie has a D in math or see that she has a NI (needs improvement) in classroom behavior.

*Don't wait until Parent Teacher Conferences to approach a teacher about a problem. Some teachers have to see 150 parents in a 6 hour period. That gives you a little over 2 minutes to say 'hi' and 'bye'. Teachers have a prep/conference period most every day. Call and make an appointment to discuss whatever it is.

*Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep and eats breakfast before school. A hungry/tired child is not ready to learn.

*If you are having problems at home. Let the school know. Children respond in different ways to stress and if a teacher is prepared it makes things a lot easier.

*If your child doesn't treat you with respect, they won't treat school employees with respect. This is a recipe for DISASTER in a public education setting! Encourage proper behavior towards adults and other students.

*There is no excuse for bad behavior. When you're told your child has been behaving badly, suggest a way to approach it and remedy it.

*Be connected to the teachers. Most have email and would rather correspond with you that way. They might even use texting or have a class website.

*Remember that sugar is easier to swallow that vinegar. Approach employees calmly and controlled (This includes secretaries, counselors, principals, lunch ladies, custodians, and librarians.) If possible, schedule a meeting. Don't just go up to school and demand a meeting. That puts the meeting on the wrong foot from the beginning!

*Make sure they return their library books!!! I just had to put that one in there!

Do you agree? What did I forget? Leave additional advice in the comments!



  1. Hi! I LOVE your advice!! I am the mom of 4 kids (three in school one starting K this fall) and I have to agree with ALL of it!!!! One thing I see alot (as a parent and very involved volunteer in the school) is that many parents automatically blame the school or teacher. I try to always look at a situation with caution and perspective. I was a teacher so this helps. I have a child with a learning disability who is on an IEP and another on a 504 for hearing and speech disorders. Being aware of rights and procedures is key but having a good relationship with the school and those directly involved with the children is a great way to make sure they are getting what they need. Thanks for the great advice!

    Amy @

  2. Good suggestions Robin. I, as a teacher but not a parent, would also add: Please make sure your child has all their materials. I went through 250 pencils last year...seriously, check your kids before they leave to see if they have paper, pencils, textbooks, etc. It will save a ton of aggravation in the classroom.

  3. I would add one more thing----please be sure that the school and/or teacher knows how to contact you, the parent, at all times. If you go out of town for work, split from your husband, leave to care for a sick family member, your child will be affected. Get a new cell phone number? Let the school know. Knowing these things really helps the school deal with your child! Ellen

  4. Ok, I am late on this one, but here goes... What I want parents to do is BE THE PARENT. Not the buddy. Not the best friend. THE PARENT.
    Discipline when needed, take an interest, teach values and personal responsibility, and set a good example.



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