Teachers and parents want the same thing: happy, successful students. But there’s only so much a teacher can communicate through emails and annual parent-teacher conferences.
So we asked them what they wanted parents to know. After reading this funny, heartfelt list, we hope you’ll understand and appreciate your child’s teacher (and all your former teachers!) that much more.
Here are 19 truths every teacher wants you to know:
1. I like gift cards, not inspirational coffee mugs. I have enough of those for every white elephant party until the end of time.
2. Don’t send your sick child to school. Half the class just got over a cold! I’m begging you here.
3. Parent volunteers are my happy place. It means so much that you help plan parties, chaperone field trips, and raise funds for school necessities. Thank you times a million.
4. I have a life outside of this classroom. I’m devoted to my students, but I can’t respond to calls, emails or texts after school hours. My family time is precious to me too.
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5. Tell me I’m doing a good job more than once a year. I keep your letters and emails and reread them on tough days.
6. Come to the parent-teacher conference! I want to get to know you and brag on your student.
7. I may seem cool and collected, but I’m tired. So tired. Please be patient with me—I have more students than just yours. Plus, I coach volleyball, sponsor the chess club, and have my own kids’ soccer games to attend.
8. Bring me a cup of coffee during carpool drop-off and we’ll be BFFs forever! Bonus points if it’s my favorite drink.
9. Don’t do your kid’s homework for them. I can tell.
10. Reach out if you are concerned about your child’s learning. I want what’s best for your child, and if I can help, I absolutely will.
11. To all the helicopter parents in the audience, keep calm. I promise I’ll let you know when I need you. I love that you want the best for your child, but so do I! Let me do my job.
12. I’m not in this for the money. I’m in this because of that moment when your child "gets it." There’s nothing quite like it.
13. Summer vacation isn’t really a two-month hiatus. I’m probably in training, cleaning my classroom, doing paperwork, prepping for next year, or working a second job.
14. I don’t control what the state says we must teach. If you don’t like it, chances are I don’t either. Take it through the proper channels, please.
15. My budget doesn’t cover half the stuff I need, so if you can, please bring your hand sanitizer and box of tissues with a smile on. I’m paying plenty out of pocket too.
16. I teach the lesson, but I need your help making it stick. Encourage your kids to take initiative in their own learning and to ask tons of quality questions!
17. Extra credit is pointless if they won’t do it. Help me out here—I want them to succeed as much as you do. Motivate them. You know how.
18. If you respect me, your child will too. Please bring any concerns or complaints directly to me, not through your child.
19. I’m living my dream job. Thank you for entrusting me with your amazing student. Every day is an adventure.
Keep this list in mind next time you’re thanking your child’s teacher for all they do. It’s more than just grading papers! Great teachers work tirelessly for their students. That’s why they deserve all the thanks they can get. Show them your appreciation by sharing our vacation giveaway with them! They could definitely use a break (and a thank-you note!).
Dave Ramsey’s Teacher Appreciation Giveaway, sponsored by Zander Insurance Group, runs throughout the month of April. Teachers can enter for a chance to win an all-inclusive vacation for two, a $500 gift card to use in their classroom, or a school assembly with Ramsey Personality Anthony ONeal. Teachers can enter at daveramsey.com/teacher.