What Parents Want
Parents have many expectations for teachers, some of which are appropriate and some not. Parents should and do expect teachers to provide a quality education to their children. They also expect that you, as the teacher, will treat their children fairly and with dignity. Many parents wish to be involved or at the very least informed of their child's progress.
A Valuable Education
Parents expect that their children will receive a worthwhile education. Most feel that their children are learning valuable information every day. With the increase in high-stakes testing, parents also expect that the educational system will prepare them to pass these exams. When the press highlights students who do not know basic facts, such as the name of the first president of the United States, this harms educators and the state of education.
Every once in a while you will deal with parents who deny that their child's actions deserve punishment, even when they have done something completely inappropriate. Realize that you will not be able to change their minds. But do not let this cause you to back off justified punishment.
Respect and Consideration
Parents also expect teachers to respect and care for their children. Every person should be treated with respect and dignity. When teachers do not follow this principle, they set a bad example for their students and they bring down the reputation of the school. It is very difficult to learn in a hostile environment; yet these are all too common.
Remember when you next look out over the children in your room that all of them have a parent or guardian who loves them. Remember to treat them as you would if their parents were actually sitting right next to them. This can help you become more considerate of your students and their needs.
Parents expect to be informed, and appreciate it, when their children are struggling. The younger the student, the more parents expect to be kept informed. Do your best to avoid a situation in which a student is set to fail or not graduate without having discussed it with his parents. Remember, parents can be your best allies in getting students motivated. Parents who feel as though you have shirked your duty of informing them about important situations can cause real problems for you with your administration and district.
As stated previously, you should attempt to call your students and their parents often. Of course, some students require more attention than others. If nothing else, make sure that you contact the parents of these high-need students so that you can get them to help you create a positive educational experience for their children.
Inappropriate Parental Expectations
Most parents believe that education is very important to their children's future life. However, there are some parents who believe that teachers should take over raising their children. They take the attitude that while their children are at school, they are the school's problem. Further, these parents see education as separate from home life. They believe that the entire responsibility for teaching their children falls on the teacher.
The fact is that students whose parents are involved in their education have a greater chance of succeeding, but there is not much you, as a teacher, can do to alter parental expectations. The important thing is to set boundaries for yourself and do the best you can.