Dear Teacher, we need to talk

The Private Parent
08 April, 2016 : 11:49
0     4

Dear Teacher,

I think you are brilliant. Going to school has been a really positive experience for my child and I know she worships the ground you walk on. I know that you work really hard and that you care hugely about her education and about all the other children in your class. I know that you have many things to juggle in your job and I have no idea how you manage to keep that smile on your face. So I feel terrible adding another thing to your plate, but I do have a few things that I can’t quite square in my mind that I feel I have to share with you:

When you call me ‘Carly’s mum’ it makes me think you don’t know my name. I understand that you have lots of parents to get to know, and I’m rubbish with names myself, but if we don’t know each other well enough to be on a first name basis, then I am wondering how we can work together to support my child through their education – that’s what we are trying to do right? Work together for the good of my daughter? And by the way, do I call you ‘Miss’ or by your first name? – this has never been clear to me.

I also want to let you know how it made me feel the other day when you called me a ‘super star’. I understand that you are speaking to children all the time and so it’s easy to slip into using the language that you would use with them, but the effect it had on me, as an adult, was quite profound – my immediate reaction was to feel proud and happy that I had pleased you and I walked away beaming and then when I thought about it afterwards I started to get angry as it made me feel patronised and unequal.

One last thing - when I come into parent’s evening and I sit myself down in front of you behind that school desk, I am transported straight back to my own school experience and I forget about why I am supposed to be there. I immediately take your lead in the meeting, nod and smile in the right places and feel relieved (generally) that you are saying good things about my daughter. But when I’ve left I keep wondering whether that was the best use of our precious time together. I feel talked at rather than being used as a resource and I wonder, are you having the meeting because it’s something you have to do, or is it useful for you? Wouldn’t it be great if we both came away with one thing that we could do better to support my child in their learning...

I really hope that you will read this letter in the way that it is intended – to help us build a stronger relationship for the good of my child. I’m a bit worried about sending it because I don’t want to jeopardise my child’s chances with you or the school in any way. I hope that I haven’t overstepped the mark...

Yours very sincerely,

A Parent

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The Private Parent
A series of anonymous blogs from parents.

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