As a teacher, here is my message to parents: “I hear you!” I’m finally in that space where I totally get your frustrations. You’ve worked a long and exhausting day knowing that your children, household and spouse are already a laundry list of “needs, wants and to-do’s” waiting for you at quitting time. Now, to add to it all, there are the weekly and lengthy homework assignments, a school calendar of events and the inevitable forms from the school or teacher that must be completed and returned (some with cash attached) ASAP! Aaaaaah…enough right?!

But here’s the unavoidable and unpleasant truth; adulting is hard! With everything in life, we seek to find a balance that doesn’t make us completely nuts and we try to find a way to make time for the things that count. There is simply no replacement, no substitute, and no APP that can perform the important role you play in the parent-teacher relationship for your child.

Parents and teachers essentially share the responsibilities in the lives of what become “our children” during the months of August to May. From 8am to 3:30pm, I am trusted to nurture, guide, challenge, entertain, protect, and educate almost 30 little ones until returned to sender. I have learned in over a decade of teaching that this relationship between all three of us is most beneficial when it is a cooperative between the parent and the teacher specifically. Why is it so crucial? And what are the benefits you might ask?

Behavior and Character Development

The parent and teacher are the first models for kindness, responsibility, respect, and integrity that any child has. They watch what we do, and only listen to a very small portion of what we say to do. Understanding as well as observing that the teacher and parent are a team rooting for and supporting them towards being and giving their best is key!

Academic Achievement

The more time you spend involved in the actual requirements grade-by-grade of your child, the better you can connect with their strengths and areas that may be in need of growth. When the teacher also has the ability to connect with you as the parent in this way be it by homework practice, phone calls, parent-teacher conference, or online communication, we can better serve and support these needs and facilitate the student’s success more swiftly together! This can also cut down on your child’s frustration and anxiety by having multiple, cooperative, involved adults to provide informed assistance.

Safety First!

Teachers, coaches, and mentors are all trusted adults that we expect to give to our children in a similar way to what we would and honestly the way they should. However, we’ve sadly all heard the TV or online news and neighborhood stories of isolated service volunteers and educational professionals that bully, manipulate, assault, and neglect the children in their care. As a parent, these individuals need to see your face and know you are involved. You need to see their face as well and get a sense of them before releasing or committing your children to them and assuming they will uphold the standards you’d expect! All children have the right to feel safe in their learning environment and this is one way that as a parent we can assist that goal being met!

The parent-teacher relationship won’t always be perfect, but it will always be crucial, and the cooperation modeled by both parties will absolutely be reflected in multiple ways by the child. Get involved now to reduce stress in the long term, to support your child’s achievement on a cooperative team, and to show them how important they are by taking on just a little of the shared responsibility and experience of the place they spend most of their days, weeks, and months in those first 18 years. They’ll thank you later and you will thank yourself!

Melissa Bagneris is a kindergarten teacher in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana where she is an active member of the school-wide positive behavior initiative system. She earned her bachelor’s degree and state certification in early childhood education from the University of Louisiana and was voted 2020 Teacher of the Year at Washington Elementary STEM School.


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