What Teachers Really Want for the New School Year

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Like many parents, you may be wondering what to give your child’s new teacher. No worries, as a former teacher, I got you covered. If you want the perfect gift, the one that will set you and your child apart from the crowd, just copy and paste this letter, fill in names, details, etc., and maybe attach a Snickers bar.

Dear Teacher,

I know my child is in your class for a reason. I trust that in addition to learning the
curriculum, they will also learn a bit about life and be challenged to think critically. I know your job can be tough, but my gift to you is to make it one student easier. 

I want my child’s experience in your class to be positive. By positive I don’t mean sunshine and roses and kid gloves, rather I mean that my child will grow, and growth is often uncomfortable. So, in an effort to help my child, I promise you the following:

  • I will come to you directly with any questions or concerns.
  • I know you work long hours with little downtime, so I will not expect emails or phone calls to be returned instantly. 
  • I will provide time and space for my child to do schoolwork, but I will not micromanage, and will not do it for them. 
  • If my child behaves in a way that is against the expectations of the school or classroom, please do not feel like you have to save their feelings. Their actions are their’s alone. I want them to learn how to weigh options and make choices.
  • I will encourage my child to speak to you if they think something seems unfair. I will not intervene unless they have already done so.
  • I know I will not always agree with you, but I will respect you, and your professional judgment.
  • Even if I don’t 100% agree with a school policy, if my child breaks one, they will also face consequences at home.
  • I will not talk badly about you, or an assignment in front of my child. EVER.
  • I love my child, but I also want them to learn how to navigate working with peers and authority figures. That being said, you are free to be candid. I do not need every call or email prefaced with positivity. Tell me the nitty-gritty and we will work together.
  • I will periodically send in tissues, hand sanitizer, pencils, glues, art supplies, and expo markers, not as a favor or gift to you, but because I know my child will use them.
  • Do not hesitate to email me, or call my cell phone during school hours. 

With Love and Support,

[Your Name Here]

When it comes down to it, the thing teachers want, the thing you as a parent can give, is support. Support your child’s teachers. Give them the space to be effective. Allow this to be a year of change. Back up, let go, and let teachers teach because when a good teacher is given the space, they become magical.

The author with students.
My former students. Here’s to a happy and productive new school year!
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Teaching permeates Channing Anderson’s life. Teaching English locally for 6 years, she became a registered yoga teacher in 2013, and specializes in prenatal yoga. In 2014, she took the leap, making mommyhood and yoga her full-time focus. Channing is the studio manager and a teacher at Pink Lotus Yoga Center, and works with clients privately through her company NamaMamaste. In 2007, she met Tim. Married two years later, the couple welcomed their first child, Hadley, in 2012, and their newest, Atticus, in 2015. Tim teaches part-time at Chapin High School, and Channing helps manage his test prep business Attest. In her spare time, Channing practices yoga, paints, and reads everything.

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