Dear Parent, From a (Burned-Out) Teacher: How You Can Be a Good Resource for Us

burned-out teacherAs we embark on the new school year, I want to give you some insight into my end-of-the-year reflection. I hope you can use my reflection to prepare for the upcoming school year.

After the extensive list of tasks that I had to do was completed, I thought to myself, “I made it!” You would think this would be deemed a huge accomplishment on my part, but it wasn’t. Instead, I would equate it with a prisoner being released from jail. I know what you are probably thinking. How dramatic can you be? I wish I was being dramatic. Here are a few of my takeaways from the school year:

  • Schools have become dumping grounds in our society. Some students come to school to do everything except learn.
  • No one student is more important than the group, even if that student has an IEP or a 504 plan.
  • Attendance is a parent problem, not a teacher problem.
  • The education system is broken, and I can’t fix it.
  • Some students think they can assault teachers.
  • I didn’t give my “good” students enough attention.
  • Parent involvement continues to plummet.
  • The stress from this job caused my health problems.
  • Behavior problems negatively affect student learning.
  • Respect is non-existent, and entitlement is at an all-time high.

I want you to really digest my list instead of thinking to yourself, “If you don’t like it, just quit.” That is partly why we are in the predicament we are in, so let’s not go there. Instead, I have decided that next year, I will do my best with the resources I am given. This is where parents come in, our best resource yet. It would help us so much if you can:

  • Take attendance daily. If your student is going to be absent, let the teacher know.
  • Ensure that you’re child is ready to learn. When your student arrives at school, he/she should be ready to learn. This means all their basic needs have been met.
  • Make sure your student comes to school prepared with all the materials needed.
  • Check their academic and behavior grades weekly.
  • Keep your child at home if they are sick.
  • Check electronic communications and folders daily.
  • Give both the student and teacher grace.
  • Instruct your student about accountability and what it looks like.
  • Research SEL (social-emotional learning).
  • Read with your child aloud. Literacy is at an all-time low.

As an educator, I have had to wear too many hats. Many of the hats that I wear are meant for parents. I know that being a parent is difficult, but it is your job — not mine. I am supposed to be an extension of you. I am burned out, and as teachers continue to leave, more things are being added to the plate of those who choose to stay. It is time that we work together for the sake of the children. If you are a parent who already does the listed items, thank you for the support. If you are a parent who doesn’t, that should be your goal for next year. Just as I must grow as an educator each year, so that I can better serve my students; you must grow as a parent to better serve your children.

Our “Dear Parent, From a Teacher” series helps parents obtain the tools and insight to ensure a successful school year for their children. If you are a teacher who wishes to write a guest blog for this series, please email your topic to [email protected].


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