What do parents want from their primary teacher?

(49 Posts)
TraineePrimaryTeacher Tue 30-Aug-16 14:02:09

Hi Mumsnet,
I am just asking for some advice, I am a trainee teacher just starting my PGCE year to become a primary teacher. I have spent the past three years studying pedagogy, policies and teaching methods during my undergrad degree in Sports Education. Between my lectures I worked part-time as a teaching assistant with a specialism in SEN, but, worked in practically every type of school imaginable (PRUs, SEN residentials, mainstream, early years, colleges and high schools).

The idea of having my own class is so so exciting to me, I am quite a confident person and very secure in my own teaching style and am confident I will be a good teacher. The only bit that does make me nervous is you guys, the parents and guardians... I read a lot of threads on here about teachers upsetting you and I really don't want to be that type of teacher. I would love for a sentence or two from a few different parents that explain good and bad examples of practice so I can get the feel of what parents really want from their child's teachers.

TIA, smile

MsMermaid Tue 30-Aug-16 14:11:36

I really want teachers to understand my child. To understand what makes her tick, what she's good at and what she needs support with. She's had 3 teachers so far, 2 of them have "got her" but the other one didn't at all, she didn't spot that dd was terrified of her (or didn't care, which I don't believe).

So my biggest piece of advice is to get to know the children as individuals, so you can talk honestly to parents and they recognise the child you're talking about.

Good luck with your pgce. It will be a lot of hard work and you will be exhausted after the first few weeks, but I think it's worth it (I'm in secondary though, so the pressures and expectations are different)

HopeClearwater Tue 30-Aug-16 17:20:15

I really want teachers to understand my child.

So, OP, you only have to do this 30 times over by October and you're sorted hmm

MoonHare Tue 30-Aug-16 17:31:43

To communicate - e.g. what day is PE, if they need change of clothes for an activity or similar please give as much notice as you can, if there are rules on show and tell/any classroom actovity that involves children bringing something from home please tell parents. Send an email or put a note in bags if you want parents to knowsomething never rely on young children to tell parents anything important, make sure parents know the names of your TAs and other classroom helpers. To be approachable and friendly. To make sure home/school reading diaries are up to date.
Remember parents do not absorb everything about the school via osmosis - we need to be told!

incywincyspideragain Tue 30-Aug-16 17:40:02

All I want from my school is good communication - plenty of notice for dress up days, fundraisers, read-a-thons (and to know if they can rely on that child to remember to tell their parent or if a letter/email/text would support), to know what topics they are learning so we can explore them at home, a good understanding of homework you are setting (amount, diversity, is it really necessary? how much are you asking whole families to do/fund)
To know how I can contact you - best times and don't rely on 'you can pop in at pick up' I use breakfast and out of school club, teachers usually aren't in and have gone home when I get to school - and don't comment on how tired you are at the end of term to full time working parents smile
(all this said our school is very good!)

but mostly remember you won't please everyone! be the authentic you, I don't envy you working with out little miracles wink

LunaLambBhuna Tue 30-Aug-16 17:40:46

To be approachable.
Good communication.

SirChenjin Tue 30-Aug-16 17:41:34

I'm quite relaxed about it all. I send my children to school, I trust the professional there to teach them, they come home happy, they make progress over the year.

I suppose what I would like is a teacher who is enthusiastic and engaged, who dishes out discipline when needed, who is supportive and kind, pushes my children to do better, and who communicates with me - I work full time and really don't appreciate the 'please make sure your child comes dressed as an Elizabethan courtier on Thursday' type letter. Tbh, in all the years that my 3 DCs have attended/attended school we only had one poor teacher - she was just totally disinterested, and really cba with children who didn't toe the line 100% of the time, irrespective of any support issues they might have. Quite why she's in teaching is anyone's guess - the school must have their hands tied, because she's the subject of endless complaints from parents.

Beyond that, I don't really have any strong feelings tbh. Good luck in your new role smile flowers

brasty Tue 30-Aug-16 17:42:10

Op I know you mean well and that is great. But some parents have totally unrealistic expectations of teachers. So bear that in mind, and don't flog yourself to death trying to meet them. Good luck

SirChenjin Tue 30-Aug-16 17:42:14

Oh - and good spelling/grammar grin

SisterViktorine Tue 30-Aug-16 17:42:16

I think you need to be aware that the PGCE is designed to completely pull people apart. You might be secure in your teaching style, but your mentor/ college supervisor might not like that and ask you to do things in different ways.

Don't go into it thinking you've got it all sorted and know how to teach. You are just setting yourself up to be shocked at how hard it is.

To answer your question, I think parents want organisation and good communication. Be kind to yourself though, because communicating effectively with 30 families when you have 90 books to make every night and an essay to hand in by the weekend it might slip sometimes.

SisterViktorine Tue 30-Aug-16 17:46:29

90 books to mark

bumpetybumpbumpbump Tue 30-Aug-16 17:51:00

I want my teacher to be happy , capable and able to focus on the job but not to the extent that he or she can't look after their own needs. I think if you validate parents feelings that will really help toowink

MsMermaid Tue 30-Aug-16 17:51:29

Hope I didn't mean the absolute ins and outs of each child's personality, just the basics, a vague idea about what a child likes and how they operate is not actually an unrealistic expectation from somebody who spends 5 hours a day with a class, especially in the younger years.

I tend to see the communication about dress-up days, etc as school wide issues rather than for individual teachers to sort out. It's nice, but it's a school issue rather than a teacher issue.

MsWorthington Tue 30-Aug-16 17:53:44

I agree completely with what others have said about communication, what is required for a special day or show and share needs to be put down in a note or email in clear language.

Also, please don't give out homework the children cannot complete without significant help from an adult and a trip to Hobbycraft. When DD had just started yr 1 she was given a homework task to make a medieval village in a shoe box. Please never do that.

OpenMe Tue 30-Aug-16 17:56:15

I think I'm a fairly undemanding parent, I won't be one who's always hogging your time at the classroom door, but if there is an "issue" I want telling promptly, along with suggestions on how you'd like me to help you.

There's no point telling me at the end of term that ds has been inattentive since he started in class, when there's nothing I can physically do about it as I'm not there and it should have been dealt with in the first week. Tell me and I will absolutely support what you want to do to address it.

user1471734618 Tue 30-Aug-16 17:57:43

to be approachable and to deal with bullying issues effectively.

no homework tasks that test the parents or home resources.

Not to tell the children anything silly and wrong. like for example the teacher that told my son that AD meant 'After Death'.

DoinItFine Tue 30-Aug-16 18:01:13

I don't think it is too much to want a primary teacher to understand each of their pupils.

DD1 had an absolutely gifted teacher last year.

She totally got my kid, helped her so much with the things she struggles with, encouraged her with the things she's good at, made her laugh, made her skip into school every day, made her proud of herself at a very inportant age (7).

EVERY parent of a child in that class I have spoken to about this teacher has said similar.

She "got" all of them. She made time for them, she listened to them, she made them feel important.

If you do that for a class of kids the kids will adore you and the parents will know they are right.

It sounds great that you already have your own style and approach.

Good luck smile

OpenMe Tue 30-Aug-16 18:02:20

I'd put money on the fact that your Ds recounted that one wrong user. I bet teacher explained it correctly and ds parraphrased it to mean after the death of Christ

Buzzardbird Tue 30-Aug-16 18:05:04

Eyes in the back of your head will do.

StarOnTheTree Tue 30-Aug-16 18:05:15

I would like DD's teacher to not have obvious favourites and to have a zero tolerance policy on any physical and verbal nastiness.

Oh and don't punish my DD because a nasty, lying little shit said that she did something that she didn't do. All because DD won't do what this child orders her to do. I guess this is where you need to know the children in your class. Observe the covert actions of your pupils rather than just noticing the obvious stuff.

Imaginosity Tue 30-Aug-16 18:14:26

My child has aspergers. For me I'd hope the teacher is happy to give me plenty of feedback on how my DS is managing at school. I'm very aware that the teacher must be busy with so many children and parents and I don't want to be taking up to much of her time. I just feel quite anxious about DS and I really need to hear the positive things as well as the negative things. I feel if the teacher keeps me in the loop then I can do my best to help DS which should in turn make things easier for the teacher

riceuten Tue 30-Aug-16 18:16:58

If I was going to be a cynic, I would say that many parents want one on one attention for their child, for you to tolerate the child's abysmal behaviour with the excuse that he/she had (undiagnosed) ADHD, for you to tolerate them blaming YOU for all their child's failings (and not them), and for them to be insistent their child is 'gifted' but 'misunderstood'

But I am not a cynic.

user1471734618 Tue 30-Aug-16 18:27:11

OpenMe - no, she told them that AD meant 'After Death', I promise.

MrsKCastle Tue 30-Aug-16 19:23:26

riceuten IME those parents are actually few and far between. Most parents are willing to help and support the teacher so long as there's good, open communication. As a teacher, I think communication is key, especially with the younger ones. Taking time to tell the little x's mum that he did a fantastic piece of art work. And especially letting little y's dad know that although he often finds he hard to listen, he concentrated brilliantly for the whole day.

As a parent, I want you to get to know my children and to be positive- praise and enthusiasm, not negativity.

riceuten Tue 30-Aug-16 19:37:44

As an ex-teacher, school governor for 30 years, and worker for an LEA,I can assure you it's more common than you'd think, MrsKCastle. Parents never ever want to hear bad news and inevitably blame the school.

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