Since I added to your plate, I thought I’d fill up your glass!
That’s the message I attach to the bottles of wine I owe my kids’ teachers’ for putting up with me every school year.
As a teacher and a parent, I acknowledge my, ahem, overzealous good intentions when participating in my children’s education. Admittedly, I like to control all the things all the time. In part, it’s what makes me a good teacher. But a good classroom parent? Not so much. And I bet I’m not alone!
If you’re nodding slowly and avoiding eye contact, you too are likely among the ranks of teacher-parents with overzealous good intentions. Here are five moments when we could stand to reign it in:
1. When you’re in constant contact.
“Hi! It’s me again!” If this is how you start emails or phone conversations to your kid’s teachers, let’s evaluate just how often you’re contacting them. Every missed point or question with two possible answers does not warrant a discussion.
Delete the draft, hang up the phone and repeat after me: “I do not need to contact my kid’s teacher about this.”
2. When you can’t help but take the reins.
You’re asked to donate materials for your seventh grader’s algebra Pi Party. Instead, you show up the day of the shindig and stick around to help check the students’ work. Who needs glue sticks when you’ve got a built-in collaborator?!
3. When you’re a one-upper.
There are different levels of one-uppers. Most of us are level ones, but if you find yourself approaching levels two or three, CEASE AND DESIST IMMEDIATELY!
- Level I: While helping with homework, you re-teach what your child is learning in school because you secretly believe your way is better.
- Level II: Openly acknowledging your way is better, you send a note to your child’s teacher offering to explain your approach so she, too, can implement it in class.
- Level III: You send an email that begins, “Hi, me again!” and suggest co-teaching because you only want to help.
4. When you’re a name-dropper.
Ever find yourself referring to the administrators by first name so your kid’s teacher understands you know Mr. Principal? Yeah … me neither …
5. When you’re an over-the-topper.
You’re asked to bring a small snack to the second grade party. You waltz in like Oprah brandishing homemade cupcakes decorated with edible photos of each student. YOU GET A CUPCAKE! YOU GET A CUPCAKE! EVERYONE GETS A CUPCAKE!
Like The Man Who Knew Too Much, having a background in education may be a bit of a detriment when it comes to our own children. Of course, these examples are all hypothetical. We teachers make the best classroom parents, right? RIGHT?!
Please share your experiences being a teacher-parent—and having teachers as classroom parents—in the comments.