School Tips

What NOT to Tell the Teacher on the First Day of School

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Be prepared - not.

Perhaps you believe in the old Scout motto “be prepared.”

So you’ve tacked together a 27 page manifesto on the care and handling of junior, complete with cell phone numbers of everyone from your next door neighbor to the stock boy at the  local produce store (just in case you happen to be out choosing a watermelon when World War III starts).

And while you probably spent a good deal of blood, sweat, and tears – not to mention time – on the Great American Novel, let me give you a piece of good advice: pack it away for a good long time.

Like forever.

"I love your kid, but can't you see I've got something good going on here?"

What it comes down to is this: in the first week or two of school, most teachers are busy enough trying to get their class used to being a class. They spend their time on getting to know the kids, helping everyone adjust to being in school again, and basically trying to make sure that the year gets off to a good start.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence, both as a principal and as a private consultant. And no matter what the age, culture, or creed, one thing holds true for almost every situation: never bother the teacher the first week of school unless it’s a medical issue, or a very practical one (like, Jimmie hates to use other people’s bathrooms).

Why, you ask? Well, although it might seem like a great idea to make sure your child’s teacher knows everything there is to know about your child, the last thing a teacher wants is to receive a manual the size of War and Peace.

Lots of instructions=lots of work

I mean think about it. Ever bought a gadget, only to take out an instruction manual thicker than the packaging the thing came in? How did that make you feel? Did that make you feel like running to the nearest table so you could dive right in and start using your expensive, I –bought-it –because-I –really-need-it thingamabob?

Or did you groan, and put it away until you had more time – like maybe during the next power blackout?

Of course it’s important that your child’s teacher know how your child learns best. I’m all for that- heck, that’s what I do (and I absolutely love it too).

But there’s a time and a place for everything. You’ll have plenty of time in a few weeks to tell the teacher all kinds of good (and not so good) stuff. But when that time comes, you’ll want to do it in a way that builds a good relationship with your child’s teacher. That could mean volunteering your time in the classroom, offering to help cut out turkey feathers for 27 turkeys, or simply catching the teacher during a quiet moment.  There are numerous ways to show gain even the most reluctant teacher’s cooperation (I’ll be writing a post about it in a week or so, so keep your head up).

But for now, take a deep breath, and have a little faith that things will go okay.

And if you absolutely must let the teacher know some important bit of info, jot down a quick note to the teacher. Start off with a friendly greeting and end off with a wish for a great year, and keep the middle short, sweet, and to the point.

And hey, look on the bright side: now your kids won’t have to steal your good printer paper to color on.

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2 Comments
  • Rachel Aug 24,2011 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Jackie!

    I remember that silence, but I especially remember that endless span of time until they come home. That doesn’t last long though…pretty soon you’ll look at your watch and wonder, “Is it time to pick her up already?”:)

  • Jackie Aug 24,2011 at 8:40 pm

    I dropped my daughter off for her first day of kindergarten today… it was so hard NOT to leave a long list of instruction on the care and feeding of this kiddo… but I refrained. I did just let the teacher know she brought her own lunch and she’s a slow eater… but we’ve been practicing at home with the timer. It’s a bit bittersweet… the silence is golden and deafening today around here. :) I’m loving your site BTW… how have I missed it?!

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