Teachers Expectations of Parents

By: Dan Ponce
By: Dan Ponce

Keeping an open dialogue with your child's teacher can sometimes be difficult with your busy schedule, but parent-teacher communication is an important part of a student's education.

"You take them at the level they're at, and you just help them along at that level, you don't push them, you don't ask them to run," said Julie Garrison, who has been an elementary school teacher for 39 years, the last 20 spent at Dibble Elementary in Jackson.

She said it's important you try and spend a little time each school night to help with homework, and do a little extra curricular reading with your child.

"Even up as high as 5th grade, you can read with your child," Garrison said.

When your child gets to middle school, expectations change for you as well.

"They need to let the students take some responsibility for themselves," said Steve Netzel, a language arts teacher and basketball coach at Washington Woods Middle School in Holt. He said the key word is "organization."

"As the students increase in levels we find that the ones that make a smooth transition are the ones that organize effectively," he said.

Netzel said he expects you to help your child stay organized, not only in terms of books and school work, but also in terms of time management.

"A lot of our students are involved in extra-curricular activities, so it's important for parents to look at the kids' agenda to see what they do have for homework," he added.

At the high school level, parents have to be proactive as opposed to just reactive, according to Jesse Turner, who has been teaching math at East Lansing High School for 34 years. He said he expects parents of high schoolers to take the initiative to contact him if you feel there's a problem.

"With the number of students we have, we can't always keep up with their particular child," Turner said. "Please don't hesitate to call, if they want to know something, I'm here to help them."

Even though high schoolers are starting to become much more independent, turner said he expects parents to do their best to check in on school work.

"From freshman to seniors, expect the book to come home," Turner said.

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