Opinion
Teaching Profession CTQ Collaboratory

A Parent’s Letter: What I Want From My Kids’ Teachers

By Jonathan Eckert — August 20, 2013 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Dear teachers,

My youngest of three starts kindergarten tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my older son and daughter are campaigning to influence their little sister’s opinion. Will she love school, as her big sister hopes, or dread school, like her brother?

BRIC ARCHIVE

At right is the countdown that my 7-year-old daughter has been keeping for the past 27 days. It is a countdown to her nirvana: the beginning of 2nd grade. But for my 5th grade son, it is a countdown to impending doom: the end of summer’s freedom.

I am writing to you with the hope that my 2nd grade daughter will win this school debate—and that all my kids will love learning, even if they won’t all admit it.

As a parent and a teacher, I ask you to do three things this year. (And just so I don’t seem like I only care about my own children, I want you to know I’ll be sharing the same advice with the 33 student-teachers I will have in class tonight. They, too, have their first day with students tomorrow.)

Start with the last day of school in mind.

On June 4, 2014, how will my kids have become better versions of themselves because of the hours you will have spent together? How will they have grown as students and human beings? Who will they be, test scores aside? What will they tell me about their year with you? What will you tell me about their year with you?

I want to know what you hope for my kids, and I need you to want to know what I hope as well, so we can work together.

(For the record, I hope my kindergartner will sound like her older sister when she explains she didn’t hear the fire alarm because she was under “the reading spell.” Or like my son when he tells me more facts about the mako shark than any one mind should be able to hold.)

Make my kids work hard.

One of the reasons my 2nd grader loves school is that she has to work hard there every day. When it comes to my preferences about my kids’ learning, memorization and handwriting are not at the top of the list. I want my kids to learn how to work: to move from frustration to well-earned understanding, to struggle and persevere.

See Also

Previous piece co-authored by Jon Eckert:

Friends to Teachers at the U.S. Department of Education?

In order for that to happen, my kids need a safe environment facilitated by expert teachers. They need plenty of opportunities to fail, learn from that failure, and try again.

That expert teacher must also be willing to fail. After all, no one grows as an expert without risking failure or taking on new challenges. (I hope that my daughter’s kindergarten teacher will be encouraged by having witnessed my mistakes when she was my student.)

I love it when I hear my son complaining about his reading teacher with comments like, “She always makes us write about everything. It is reading, and all we do is write.” In my eyes, this is high praise from a 10-year-old boy.

Love my kids.

This may sound trite and cliché, but isn’t this what every parent wants? Love them in spite of their shortcomings, bad handwriting, and their maddening refusal to add supporting details to expository essays. Love them in spite of their crazy parents.

Keep pushing them, and don’t give up. While my son is a self-avowed school hater, I’ve witnessed his end-of-year tears after goodbyes to teachers.

Finally, thanks for all you do.

You have a daunting task, a tremendous responsibility, and an unbelievable opportunity to shape and mold our children—my kids and a lot of other people’s too.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Explainer: Why Are Chicago Schools, Teachers' Union Fighting?
The issue that caused the most chaos in the roughly 350,000-student district was when and how to revert to remote learning.
3 min read
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and supporters stage a car caravan protest outside City Hall in the Loop, Wednesday evening, Jan. 5, 2022. Chicago school leaders canceled classes in the nation’s third-largest school district for the second straight day after failing to reach an agreement with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols. (Ashlee Rezin /Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Teaching Profession Some Teachers Are Running Out of Sick Days, and Administrators Are Hesitant to Help
With a shortage of substitutes and pressure to stay open, administrators are reluctant to extend paid time off for teachers with COVID.
13 min read
Professional male social distancing or self quarantining inside a coronavirus pathogen.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teaching Profession Opinion 18 Ways to Improve Teacher Observations
Holding pre- and post-conferences, showing more compassion and less judgment, and organizing peer observations are valuable.
19 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession For Anxious Teachers, Omicron 'Feels Like Walking Into a Trap'
As COVID cases rise sharply, educators brace for another semester of staffing shortages, student absences, and potentially getting sick.
9 min read
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Amber Updegrove interacts with her students, while she and the students are wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, Tenn, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.
Kindergarten teacher Amber Updegrove interacts with her students at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, Tenn., in August.
John Partipilo/AP