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what would you appreciate from your child's new teacher?

(35 Posts)
Daisie Wed 08-Jul-09 20:20:56


I have just qualified as a primary teacher and will be teaching year 4 in September.
I'm really keen to get on well with parents and I think it's really important. I'm 21 so am very aware that some might worry that I'm inexperienced. I do have a proper teaching qualification though and have worked as a nanny, so am used to talking to parents.

I was just wondering if anyone can give me any advice. Is there anything that you would really appreciate from your child's new teacher?
I'll aim to go outside with the children at the end of each day, for the first week at least, so that parents can see who I am. Is there anything else that parents want to know at the beginning of the year? (expectations for homework and that type of thing?)
Thanks in advance for your help

morningpaper Wed 08-Jul-09 20:26:29

I'd love:
- newsletter from the teacher with a PHOTO and full name and contact details (e.g. an email address)
- details of the other staff that will be dealing with my child during that year with photos if possible
- a map of the school with the new classroom clearly marked
- expectations for homework, perhaps the first half-of-term topics with a rough idea of what parents could do to reinforce the learning

Takver Wed 08-Jul-09 20:42:46

I wouldn't worry too much, the yr 3/4 class in dd's school is taught by a young teacher in her first job (started last Sept) and everyone loves her (parents and children) because she is so enthusiastic and does lots of fun stuff with them. DD is really looking forward to going into her class.

I guess as well it depends on the size of the school - I can see that morningpaper's suggestions would be really helpful in a big school, but if your school is like dd's (70 children or so from 3 yr old tinies in nursery through to yr 6) then it would be a bit OTT.

Being outside after school from time to time throughout the term though would be really helpful though for those moments when you want to ask a tactful question (eg "is my little Johnnie being as obnoxious in class as he is at home right now?") but asking for a formal meeting with the teacher feels like overkill.

kookykid Wed 08-Jul-09 21:10:10

Daisie - don't give out your email address!! Be friendly and available for parents AFTER school by all means, but email is inappropriate.
(I'm a jaded teacher of 12 years experience!)
A newsletter always goes down really well.

slowreadingprogress Wed 08-Jul-09 21:10:49

Personally I would love a teacher who didn't give homework - hate it for this age group.

i think there's only one thing you need to do and that is to be positive about the child. Any teacher who likes, appreciates and thinks my DS is lovely, is a teacher I like and clearly a person of great intelligence and discrimination smile

scienceteacher Wed 08-Jul-09 21:12:45

Why wouldn't you give out your email address?

Ours are published in the parents' handbook. I email my DSs' teachers several times a year, and they email me.

Tambajam Wed 08-Jul-09 21:16:32

I knew of a teacher who did something I thought rather sweet. She sent every child a postcard in the Summer holidays. Just a little 'hello' and a looking forward to meeting you and a reference to something they would be studying in the first term. Nothing too heavy.

I also wouldn't recommend giving out an email. There are better ways to communicate and some parents would expect a virtually immediate response. In your first year it can be tough to find a work/life balance and you need to be able to protect yourself a bit.

Goblinchild Wed 08-Jul-09 21:17:37

I've has emails fowarded to me through the office. I often tend to reply around 2am which startles those that notice. grin

Goblinchild Wed 08-Jul-09 21:18:54

Scienceteacher, are you secondary?
If I gave out my email address, some of my Y3 parents would be in contact on a daily basis, and huffy if the replies were not prompt.

Feenie Wed 08-Jul-09 21:23:45

shock Sweet, or stalker-y, Tambajam? grin

scienceteacher Wed 08-Jul-09 21:31:48

My school is all-through, Goblin, and I teach from Year 5 up.

I think email is a fantastic way to communicate with parents because it does not interrupt lessons or mean that I have to schedule a meeting before or after school. They get a reply when I have the time.

Most emails are just passing on information and don't actually require a response, tbh.

slowreadingprogress Wed 08-Jul-09 21:33:49

oh and I would be really impressed if a teacher got out and read the file of every child who was going to be in their ds has SEN and I have been totally floored that each year, the teachers know nothing about him or his needs, haven't read the file, haven't read letters which I've sent in to inform them of some quite vital stuff....

scienceteacher Wed 08-Jul-09 21:36:10

You mean not everyone does that?

It is one of the first things I do when I take over a new class. I have also visited my new pupils individually, including chatting about them with their Year 6 class teacher in their primary/prep school.

LynetteScavo Wed 08-Jul-09 21:46:44

All I would really want to know is that the teacher could cope with my DC - I can tell that by one quick glance, so emerging into the open would be perfect.

I second reading each child's file, and knowing which child has SEN's - epecially before parents evening if you don't want parents to think you are useless.

I'd also really like to know which topics are going to be covered in Geography/History, etc, so I can back it up at home.

slowreadingprogress Wed 08-Jul-09 21:50:25

oh well it's heartening to know that there are teachers who do read files......good for you guys, keep it up!!!!

Heifer Wed 08-Jul-09 22:23:33

I have just realised just how lucky I am with my DDs school teachers.

All the teachers in primary and junior come out with their pupils (infants stay with them for 10 mins before taking those not collected to late room. (also come out in the morning when the bell goes, so we get a few mins to chat to the teacher before and after school.

Also communication is encouraged in the homework book. We can write anything and get a response every day.

The other thing which I thought was standard is that DD already knows next years teacher really well. They have been interacting all year. Maybe because it is a small school, I think most teachers would know her name (and not because she is the naughty one grin..
She has had another lesson with next years teacher today apparently.

I know that her current teacher got to read a file about her before she started (as the nursery class is linked).

I think one of the most important things for me, is for the teacher not to speak down to me, I am not one of her class (and actually while we are at it, please don't talk down to the children either)...

Heifer Wed 08-Jul-09 22:25:07

sorry for the waffle - but I do have another wish..

Please look like you want to teach my child (and the rest of the class).. Smile in the morning and after school.. I would hate my DD to go into a class room with a miserable looking teacher (she can get that at home with me)...

Pyrocanthus Wed 08-Jul-09 22:28:37

My daughter is just finishing year 4, and though approachability and communications are important, I believe your most important job is to get to know the children in your care and help them to learn. Obviously you'll do that because you clearly care very much about your job, but the thing that always impresses me most in a teacher is when they 'get' my child - i.e. they really understand her strengths and weaknesses and what motivates her (particularly as she's quite quiet and, I suspect, easy to overlook). She's had a great one this year - also very good at being available for a chat about progress.

DD herself would say that you need to be able to control the lively boys without SHOUTING all the time, and that if you are cross with one child, it shouldn't put you in a bad mood with the rest of the class.

Homework expectations are important - I don't much like homework for children that age either, but if you're giving it out (and I presume you must) make sure that you let the children know that you expect them to hand it in on time and to do it to a reasonable standard, then mark it promptly. If you don't approve of homework either, don't let it show. And give consistent amounts each week.

If you can manage all of that, I really wouldn't be that bothered whether you did a newsletter or gave out your email address (actually I think you'd be bonkers to do the latter).

Good luck in your career. Your country needs you grin

Mazzymaz Wed 08-Jul-09 22:45:15

Please, please, please try and make sure that every child performs to the best of their abilities, whether they are bottom, middle or top of the class. There is nothing worse for a parent than seeing a child floundering because a teacher has no idea what that child's capabilities are and where they should be by the end of a year. And there is nothing worse than finding out at the end of year report that your child just hasn't got anywhere as that's a whole year of education wasted. Please notice any differences in behaviour of the child as it normally indicates a problem and talk to the child first and then the parent if the child won't open up. Too many children are let down by teachers not noticing problems in conflicting personalities or those that are confident swallowing up those that are not. Please try and help children socially and not just academically as children always perform better when they are happy. Some children struggle to make friends and need help. Remember, not all children who appear confident are; some are insecure and are loud to try and hide it. If a child needs help in certain areas please let parents know ASAP as most of us are prepared to walk over fire for our children (or help them a bit with schoolwork). If you can do all those things your reputation will go before you and parents will be begging you to be their child's teacher. Good luck, I know of only one teacher in my DD's school who can do all of those things but she is adored!

mussyhillmum Thu 09-Jul-09 08:38:19


I would wish for a teacher who is open and friendly with parents - a hello and a smile is enough! I would like to be kept informed of what is being covered in class so I could reinforce it at home (particularly valuable for parents of monosyllabic boys!). I would like to know HOW you teach certain maths,etc so I don't confuse my DC with my foreign, antiquated methods. For my DC, I would like a teacher who enjoys all children - not just the quiet, complient ones. I would like a teacher who delivers the curriculem with enthusiasm and creativity. Probably, most important, I would like a teacher who actually tries to "get" my child.

Good luck with your new career!

Madsometimes Thu 09-Jul-09 10:09:34

I have no problem with homework, just so long as it is not too much. Also I prefer homework that children can do on their own, rather than need parental help with. Spellings and timetables are good, making a detailed model of viking long boat is not.

Daisie Thu 09-Jul-09 11:32:02

Thank you very much for all the replies. I am spending some time in school so am getting to know the children at the moment. I do find it very strange that some teachers don't read SEN files; I'm desperate to find out as much as I possibly can about each child.

In an ideal world I would like parents to have my email address but I know that it would be just too much, especially with a big class.

I will send home a newsletter in the first week, with information about topics and homework etc. (I also don't agree with homework but children won't know this as it's school policy)

Thanks again

AramintaCane Thu 09-Jul-09 11:51:34

Our year four teacher asked each parent to tell them three of their kids favorite things to help him get to know them. I have no idea if he remembered them or even used them but it made us feel he cared who they were. grin

Takver Thu 09-Jul-09 11:54:07

Ah, now I would disagree with you there madsometimes.
I think one of dd's favourite activities all year was the homework set to 'make a cardboard castle' - especially as it came with the specific instructions that the children were to do it alone, with no parental input. Kept dd happily entertained for hours on a nasty rainy week in early spring!

choccyp1g Thu 09-Jul-09 12:05:13

If you have dressing-up days, join in! Also, keep a few accessories so that you can rescue the poor kids whose parents can't be bothered or forget. The look on one boy's face this week, when he arrived at the playground to see that all the other children were in Roman gear will haunt me every time I feel I can't be bothered to sew a costume.

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