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Teachers vs. Parents (or Vice Versa)

Having spent the last year trying to figure out the public school system, I’ve come to some realizations. 1. I’m so grateful for the child care experience my children are having. No matter what age group or classroom, my sons have both had teachers that genuinely care for them and the well being of our family. We’ve had to work through newly diagnosed epilepsy, developmental delays, acid reflux, biting and I’m sure there is more to come. But the whole time, they’ve let my children be who they are. They’ve adjusted classroom settings and teaching strategies to fit my child, not vice versa. I’ve always felt like I’ve had someone to brainstorm with, a partner.

This leads me to my second realization. 2. Public school (at least my son’s current school) is a whole different world than child care and he will be expected to fit the mold. With my child just beginning his elementary school career, I’m forced to think about the things brought up in this article. Disclaimer: I have an education background. I don’t side with either the teachers or the parents- I think it needs to be a partnership. I’m willing to do my part if the teacher is willing to do hers. I have a growing concern that my oldest child will not fit the public school mold. He doesn’t learn best when forced to complete things in a certain amount of time. He doesn’t sit still…ever. He doesn’t ever appear to be listening or watching, but he is and he’s absorbing more than we ever imagine. My expectation as a parent is that his teacher will try to figure out how he learns and adjust his/her teaching style accordingly. However, that’s a completely unreasonable expectation since the boy sitting next to mine may learn in a completely different way. How do you form a relationship with a teacher you only see once or twice a year, and feel like you can discuss things like how taking away outside playtime is actually punishing the teacher more than my son because he’s going to be that much more active later that day?

I’m looking for guidance. Do I try and find a private school where my children can thrive and learn in their own way, or do I accept the fact that at some point, children have to learn to conform?


  1. LongacresPC May 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Having taught Kindergarten (1 year) and Special Needs Preschool/Developmental Kindergarten (5 years) in a Public School setting, and training other teachers on how to deal with behavior management for 3 of those years, I can tell you that teachers generally fall into one of two basic categories. Those who want as much feedback as you can give them to make their task of teaching your child easier, and those who feel like they are the “experts” and don’t even like to get tips from actual behavioral specialists, let alone parents. If you happen to luck out and get the first kind, then you have to hope that they are of the subset who can actually take what you tell them and turn it into a working solution. If you encounter the second type your three, very unfortunate, choices are to ride it out and hope for better the next year, go over the teacher’s head and seek help from the counselor and/or principal, or change schools/classrooms. Your son sounds like exactly the type of child that I loved to work with and there are a myriad of strategies that could probably help him and his teacher, if they are willing to learn them. Feel free to email me at if you want some specific things to try out. I will likely need more information because I would normally spend several hours observing a child before making suggestions, but it might help.

  2. Green Mom May 27, 2011 at 9:24 am

    LongacresPC, you sound like an amazing resource! Thank you and I’ll be in touch if necessary.

  3. Suzie May 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I say you pick they school that is right for them now and for the short-term future. For many families with special needs, public school is the best answer, and for others it’s a terrible option. If private school is the right choice for your boys, certainly don’t feel guilty. Even in private school they will have to conform in many ways, so it’s not as though you’re protecting them from the big bad world just because you choose a school that may soften the blow and set them on a better path for the future.
    I am a product of both public and private schools, and both served me well at their respective stages in my education.

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