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(CNN) -- This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.
I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."
Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.
So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We 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. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who 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.
So there you are on Back-to-School Night being warm and enthusiastic in front of your students’ parents. You’re showing the parents that their children are in capable hands-you’re accessible, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. In short, it’s going to be a good year in Spanish class. And then…the Ghosts of Spanish Teachers Past rear their heads. It starts with a comment like:
“I had 2 years of high school Spanish and don’t remember a thing.” Or
“I had a terrible time in Spanish class, barely passed it/flunked it.” Or
“Never saw the use of taking 2 years of Spanish.”
Let the new year begin!
A fresh start and infinite possibilities.
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