What Teachers Really Want You to Know



As a parent, I want to know how I can best promote my child’s academic success. As a teacher, I am a lot better at telling other caregivers how to do that than I am knowing how to do it for my own kids. So, in an effort to find some (anonymous) answers to some tough questions (like, “How are caregivers impeding their child’s success?”), I turned to Survey Monkey.

The nearly 40 teachers who completed this survey represent high school teachers (29.03%), elementary school teachers (41.94%), and Special Education teachers (29.03%). It should be noted, however, that general education teachers are often also teaching students with Individualized Education Plans in general ed settings.

1. How Do You Want Caregivers to Communicate with You?

While 6 teachers commented that it doesn’t matter to them, as long as the parent is communicating; a whopping 85% of the teachers polled say they prefer e-mail to text messaging or phone calls.

“Both Email & phone- some conversations need to be by phone while others (quick pieces of information) are better and more efficient via email.”

2. What Do You Feel is the Most Beneficial Way for Caregivers to Help Their Children at School?

“Both consistent homework routine and making attendance a priority; they both can be hand-in-hand but one without the other can (dare I say ‘usually’?) result in poor(er) performance/results…”


28.13% said Consistent Homework Routine

37.50% said Making Attendance a Priority

34.48 % said Responding to Communication from the School

“…and attendance, especially at a young age…so many building block skills are taught each day, particularly in 1st grade reading and math…”


3. What Do You Feel is the Most Detrimental Way Caregivers Affect Their Child’s Schooling?

Defending Poor Choices or Behavior: 56.25%

Inconsistent Homework, Discipline, or Attendance: 37.50%

Ignoring or Refusing to Respond to Attempts by the School to Communicate: 6.25%

4. What Advice Would You Give a Caregiver to Help with Bullying? 

80% of the teachers polled said to work with them to resolve and understand the situation at school

6.25% said to work it out with the caregiver of the other student/s involved outside of school

18.75% said to talk to their student at home

“I think all three: (work) with school, at home with other/s involved, and with child independently.”

Another respondent mentioned involving the School Counselor: EXCELLENT advice and a great resource on bullying and mediation.


5. What Advice Would You Give to Caregivers to Help Their Child Progress Academically?

“Reading every single night. Even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes.”

21.88% said helping your child stay organized (hard to do with different colored folders, homework assignments, long and short term projects!) will help them be successful at school

12.50% said to review homework with your child

65.63% said to foster a respect for education and school personnel

“I think helping your student learn the value of education, respect for the learning environment, and how to independently organize, manage, and complete their responsibilities will be the best way to help them academically.”

6. When a Student Violates a Rule at School, What Do You Think is an Effective Way for a Caregiver to Respond at Home? 

Only 3.13% of the teachers polled said to remove a preferred activity (a sport, weekend outing, etc.) while 68.75% said to assert a consequence at home by removing a preferred object/game/electronic

There is a distinction here between removing a preferred object, and removing a preferred activity: removing an outing or a sport is a huge consequence because these are “items” the student does not have regular access to. If you take away soccer from your child in an effort to discipline them, or leave them out of a family outing, you’re taking something away they will not readily have access to once the punishment is over. Removing a preferred object/game/electronic allows you to remove something, and then return it to your child on your terms: whatever that may mean.

28.13% said to talk about it with your child.

“It depends on the severity of the rule breaking, but no matter what they should always talk with the child and explain why that rule is in place.”

In Conclusion…

The best thing you can do to help your child become a better reader is to READ! For younger kids, oral reading will help them become more fluent, and with fluency will come increased comprehension.

By placing an emphasis on attendance, organization, and homework completion, you can help foster in your children a healthy respect for education, school personnel, and the learning environment.

If your child gets in trouble at school, make sure you talk to their teacher to get the full story. Disciplining at home for inappropriate school behavior will help your child know you and their teacher are on the same team. Just make sure the discipline matches the behavior, and be sure to process with your child, as well, on how to make better choices next time. If necessary (like for chronic behavioral issues), work with your child’s teacher to determine what your child is trying to communicate through their behavior, and how you and the teacher can prevent the opportunity for the behavior to occur in the future.


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