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Sandburg Elementary School

2051 Wabash
Springfield, IL 62704

Sandburg: The Parent / Teacher Relationship

January 13, 2022

The following article is taken from an interview with Ron Clark, author of  The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck — 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers. Mr. Clark has been named American Teacher of the Year by Disney and was Oprah Winfrey's pick as her Phenomenal Man.  He founded The Ron Clark Academy, which educators from around the world have visited to learn.

“What do teachers really need parents to know?  Teachers are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer.  Some parents just don't want to hear anything negative about their child. But sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.

Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has had a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. Please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.

Remember that if your child gets in trouble for behavior at school that it teaches life lessons. As a parent, don’t make excuses for your child’s behavior and don’t stand in the way of those life lessons.

Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner.  If your child said something happened at school that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said.  I know that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal.  But never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect the teacher, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.

We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask you to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. Make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.”