Teacher update – the one where I greedily eat humble pie

Admitting when you are wrong isn’t always easy, but I believe doing so speaks volumes about your personality.

I’m proud to admit that I was wrong and was barking up the wrong tree in regards to my daughter’s teacher.

This isn’t to say that the concerns I wrote about last week weren’t valid, even the deputy principal (DP) agreed they were.

I’m just saying that there are always two sides to every story and it’s crucial to find them both out before judging someone.

In all aspects of life I believe it is important NOT to take sides until you have spoken to both parties. Sadly this rarely happens.

What I don’t regret is taking the time to investigate why my daughter’s teacher was unorganised and appeared to be out of her depth.

I wrote a letter to the DP asking how I should approach the teacher with my concerns. We met, she gave me some great advice and reassured me that I wasn’t being a pain in the proverbial.

School drop offs and pick ups were VERY uncomfortable for a day because I knew that my teacher knew that I had written to the DP and met with her.

However, the following day I made the time to come in and speak with my daughter’s educator. I should mention that this was AFTER I had spent an hour in her class parent helping – AWKWARD!

This is what I discovered as a parent helper and after a sit-down meeting with her:

* She is a fantastic, enthusiastic and friendly teacher
* The children LOVE her, she makes them smile and everything she does is inadvertently teaching them something
* She’s come to a paperless school completely unprepared
* She is eager to accept help, in fact she asked me at pick up this afternoon if I could spare an hour to help her sort books out.
* She’s underwhelmed that only TWO parents have offered to help her in the classroom as parent helpers.
* While school books are STILL strewn over the back bench, the kids are still learning and wanting to learn.
* She wants to give the kids an activity to start before the bell – this is a work in progress
* She knows ALL the children’s names

The most important thing I took from this incident is that teachers, ESPECIALLY new ones to a school, need support and help in the classroom.

They’re unlikely to get it from the school so parents MUST step in to help if they can.

It’s so easy to send your child off to school and expect a teacher to do all the work, but surely it’s our duty to take an interest, to lend a hand if we can?


Furthermore, why does no one bother to volunteer at the tuckshop or attend Parents & Citizens Association meetings anymore?

I work from home, have three kids but still think it’s my DUTY to be involved in the day-to-day life of my child’s school.

One day I will have three pieces of my heart walking around the school, so I want to make sure it’s a place I am happy to leave them in.

Am I being over protective?
Do you have complete trust in your child’s teacher?
Would you be proactive in making sure your concerns were heard?
Do you attend P&C meetings, parent help or volunteer at the tuckshop?

Thanks for the IBOT link-up Jess @ Essentially Jess


  1. Am glad to hear you were able to volunteer in the classroom and see for yourself first hand what happens. It is sad how little involvement there is from parents in schools these days. Theres always a core group who can be relied upon… Good on you for being one of them!!

  2. I am so pleased this tale had a happy ending. You are right, it is important to hear all sides to every story. How brave of you to speak with the teacher and address your concerns, and wow, staying around to help after is brilliant. I don’t think you can ever be too over protective where your children are concerned! If we don’t look out for them who will. I don’t have time to volunteer at our school any more, however when the children were in the lower grades I gave up a couple of hours every morning to help out and it was a very valuable experience. xxx

  3. Was in the Uniform Shop for 5 years and switched to being an Ethics teacher. I think it’s worth keeping an eye on things, and what better way than actually being there…

  4. And good for you for checking it out, rather than holding onto assumptions.

  5. I’m glad about this. Helping out in the classroom is a handy little way to spy and make sure everything is as it should be and in your case it provided a lot of reassurance.
    I agree, more people should get involved and help out. School is a community not just a drop off place. I certainly want to know who is influencing my little people and to be active in that community.

  6. I’m so glad to hear things have worked out. I don’t think you have been over protective at all, instead of letting your concerns eat away at you, you tackled them head on and are now feeling better for it.

  7. I’m so glad it all worked out. Sometimes just talking and asking the questions makes all the difference.

  8. I’m afraid I don’t agree re parent help. I was able to do it, and it’s good if people can, but I think schools need to just accept that their job is to teach and parents have other jobs they have to do and find ways to adequately staff them without parents.

    I was one of the lucky ones, I chose to be home till my kids started Prep and was able to afford that, but not everyone has that luxury – or that talent. I love working with children and find it really enriching, but many people would be horrified at the thought of having to work at a school, even for a few hours a week, which is fair enough.

    I am so glad that things are working out well with your teacher though! Your concerns were perfectly valid and you didn’t cause her any grief with them, it’s not like you went in and started a big argument or embarrassed her. Hopefully she will have learned from this. It’s great to know the kids are happy and learning though 🙂

  9. I’m so glad you got to the bottom of it Em, and put your mind to rest. No doubt the teacher will come to rely on you.
    I couldn’t believe the first P&C meeting I went to when Bell started school, I was the only parent there with all the teachers!!! I loved working in the tuckshop and Bell was always so excited when it was my day. They love showing their mum off to their friends when they’re little.
    Good on you for speaking to the teacher, I’m sure she appreciated it.
    Enjoy your time as a school mum, it goes way too fast! xx

  10. So glad it worked out. I volunteered in class until about year 4 where it became more for one off needs, I now do swimming duty for both classes as they need extra supervision. This year I volunteered for my year 5’s class parent role. I admit I have never got involved in p and c though which is funny since my mom was PTA president at my primary!

    So important to get to know the teachers, classroom and school and to ask questions and give feedback as needed. I have had meetings with our principal over the years – even if I often leave unsatisfied ugh!! Xx

  11. This is one case where it is good to be wrong 😉 Meanwhile I have volunteered to be Treasurer for the P&C. Hold me!

  12. Good for you for admitting to being wrong & taking steps to meet with the teacher. (Could you teach my hubby to do the same) Many would just form judgement & do nothing. I’m on fruit duty tomorrow at kinder & next week too. I can’t wait to help out when my kids go to school. Mwa x

  13. Great result, happy to hear. So good that you’ve addressed it so early in the year too, you’ll have a fan for the year and open communication to boot 🙂

  14. Yay! So happy to read this, and go you for being one of only two helpers. I wonder if everyone thinks that everybody else will be helping out? I am certainly guilt of this, and you have prompted me to let the teacher know I am available. Although I have already offered my blogging assistance with the class blog, lol.

    You must be relieved, humble pie or not. And btw: I want that puppy!!!

  15. So glad to hear this Em x

  16. Lil Pumpkin hasn’t attended any sch that calls for it (actually they keep parents out because they’re worried we’ll bring in diseases. true story) but I’d like to go in once in a while to keep up with the news there, mingle with other parents and get to know the teachers better 🙂 good job Em for being so involved despite your busy schedule!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  17. Pleased she turned out to be a caring teacher and things were resolved. I know from the inside that Principals ALWAYS tell their staff everything – it’s a kind of professionalism thing and she would’ve wanted to give her the ‘heads up’ on allaying parents’ possible fears in the area of competence and empathy to the kids.
    Nicely done!

  18. Em you’re a rockstar!! Good for you hon, both for helping out and for following up on your initial gut reaction. If you don’t ask – you’ll never know!! I feel exactly the same as you with regards to school and I have just volunteered to be a class parent for the third year running. Oh and my kids LOVE LOVE LOVE that I work in the tuckshop – it’s their favourite thing!! xx

  19. I’m so glad that you’ve had a happy outcome with this and the teacher turned out to be much better than you thought and good on you for helping, I sometimes wish I was more like that but I’m not and in fact you’ve inspired to write a post about why I don’t volunteer at school. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I shall look out for it, oh bogan one 😉 I helped, and feel lucky I was able to, and I don’t know your reasons, but it’s simply not for everyone, and that’s just fine.

      A few years back, one woman I know who suffers from pretty serious mental health issues was hassled by other mothers about not wanting to volunteer, under the pretence of friendly chatting. So she stopped doing pick ups altogether and got her husband to do it for a while.

      I wonder how many dads are pestered if they don’t want to volunteer? The whole essence of the word volunteer is that it’s voluntary. We have no idea what’s going on in other people’s lives.

      It’s fine to ask, preferably by email or letter so nobody feels pushed or blackmailed. And “No thanks” is a perfectly acceptable response.

      Look forward to your post.

  20. Well done on pushing through on this one. I am a parent class room helper – because I can. I know that there are many parents who can’t for whatever reason and so I figure that I can, so I will. I have already had “discussions” with my youngest daughter’s teacher. All has worked out. I put my side forward (about a reading log book) and she put her side forward. I assured her that I was on her side and wanting to support her. All has been sorted. I figure that I would prefer to push a little and work things out then have a disaster at the end of the year to try and sort out.

  21. I am so glad that you sorted it out! I had issues with school the first week too but it has all been sorted. I don’t think there is any problem with nipping it in the butt early. I haven’t offered to help in the classroom yet because I looking for a job at the moment and not sure how timing will pan out. Our school does get you to commit to volunteering with the school as part of your enrollment.

  22. Nope you are a bloody good parent!
    Good on you for admitting to not being right. That is hard for some people 🙂

  23. Glad that things seem to have turned out all right and that you are woman enough to admit it 🙂 It’s often so hard for people to do that! And aren’t you great to have volunteered to help out! Amazing! At least this way you saw first hand what was going on and you’ve probably put a nervous teacher at ease…

  24. Well you got yourself in some deep shit and I am so glad you climbed out of there with all the problems solved!! I have had a couple of teachers over the years who I thought a little odd at first but at the end of the day, my kids were learning and that’s the best thing ultimately. I always hang back a few weeks to let them get in the swing of things (kids and teachers). I did remove my daughter from a new primary school a few years back. After 5 weeks into term one in grade 5, she had nothing to show in her books or school bag. I was fuming! Then the crunch came after she came home one day and told me she had spent her day dusting in the library as her teacher was absent and none had been set up as a replacement!! I sent her to another local school which they all attend now. It is the most remarkable primary school I have ever had the pleasure to be involved with!

  25. I think it’s great you and the teacher in question got to talk. I love that your opinion has changed a little and that you understand what she’s up against. I suspect that it was a wake-up call for her as well and perhaps she’s realised she needs to ask for help. (Something many of us find hard to do – and hard for her as she was new and trying to impress undoubtedly!)

  26. Well done Em. You may not be wrong in some regards but it looks as though this things have mostly worked out. Paperless school while a good idea are hard to get used to when it isn’t what you are used to. Hope she gets the support she needs.

    PS I am on the school board, P&C treasurer and volunteer – don’t know how schools would survive without their volunteers.

  27. Glad that you are feeling much happier about your daughter’s teacher and good on you for stepping in to help her. I must admit to not being involved in P&C (other than volunteering at school fair etc), but I have tried my best to be involved over the years (in Grade 5 now there is hardly any chance to be in the classroom). The reading groups in Years 1, 2 and 3 are particularly important I reckon as the poor teachers just can’t do it without parent help. You’ll make your kid’s school environment be a good one by being an involved parent.

  28. I have my first P&C meeting tomorrow night at 7.30pm in the library and I am asking about volunteering at the canteen! I’m a but excited. I am also on the parent comittee at the daycare where little miss went and little mr now goes.

  29. So glad it has sorted itself out now.
    I help out in the classrooms. Not excessively but a little bit. It’s good to be available but not be too over the top. I’ve seen parents before who need to learn to step back as they are at school too much, and interfere a lot. The balance is important

  30. Oh so glad that your fears were unfounded! Good on you for making the effort to volunteer, even though you’ve definitely got your hands full with everything else. Maybe you could speak to some other parents to ask them to help out too?

  31. I can’t wait to help at my girls school when they go. I loved my dad or mum helping at school when I was in class. Maybe some parents are too busy or burned out to add another duty to their schedule? I’m so glad that the teacher is better than what you thought. I think your thoughts were valid and you’ve done the right thing to find out both sides of the story. X

  32. I’m glad to hear that it’s all much better now. It must be a huge weight off your shoulders.

  33. Oh what a great sequel to last week’s post, I’m so glad many of your concerns have been alleviated. I must admit, one of the things I really enjoy about being at home with the kids now is the opportunity to do things like parent help. Even just being there to meet them after school and wave at their teachers is awesome after years of dropping them at before-school care at 7.30am and squealing in the gates to collect them at 6pm.

  34. Finally have made it back to reply after reading this at stupid o’clock this morning!

    Awesome you got this all sorted out 🙂 Makes you feel sooo much better when you get to know their teachers a little hey 🙂

    MC xo

  35. As a school volunteer myself, I understand how frustrating it can be when nobody else puts their hand up to help. It is always the same parents that are willing to give their time.
    It seems that the teacher was very overwhelmed to start a new school. You handled it so well Em, good on you for finding out that first impressions are not always correct. We can all learn something from this post xx

  36. I read your post last week Em. I thought your concerns were justified. But, I’m really glad you had the chance to talk to the teacher and sort out the issues with her.

  37. Glad all is well in your world now and you’re feeling better about things x

  38. Well done for being brave enough to ask the question. I have found after 6 years as a Primary school Mum and 12 years teaching that the children who have parents helping or even just getting to know their teacher get the very best out of the year that they can!

  39. As I work 5 days a week I can’t help out a lot at the school but I do try to attend P&C meetings, help out on excursions and do whatever else I can to assist. We have a small school and it has been wonderfully supportive for my kids so I feel I do owe something back to it. So glad things with your daughter’s teacher have been resolved – it’s so true, there are always two sides to every story.

  40. I intend to do tuckshop and volunteer at school when Hayley is older. That’s the fun part about having a school aged kid (at least thats what I think).

  41. I totally love your humble pie. It’s not easy admitting when we are wrong. I simply can’t help at school and I’ve had to get over it. However I try hard to show my face at the door at least twice a week so the teacher knows I’m present in my kid’s lives and pro-active to deal with matters. What’s this ‘paperless’ school? We have way to much paper waste at our school.

  42. I love the honesty with which your posts are written. Thanks for providing an insight to how a new teacher might feel, sounds like she was born to teach. I hope my kids will end up with someone like her (when I have them).

  43. Most new teachers in America get next to no support, and the turnover rate is more than 50% by the end of five years. The days and long and hard, and education is only part of what a teacher is responsible for. You are such an awesome parent to have taken the time to talk to the teacher. I made it six years in the classroom before I finally decided to move onto other things.

  44. Will all that on the list of concerns how could you have been completely wrong at the outset to investigate? Why did she not accept the help at first? Why does she not say hello?

    I’m glad things have turned out better than they appeared but these are things that would still be under my skin until I understood them.

  45. Glad you sorted out your problems Emily. Sadly I could never P and C as I had to work full time to support my kids schooling as a single mum (and prior to that with an out of work ex-husband…another story). I would love to have got involved but as for helping in the classroom I think I would have been a distraction for my wayward twin boys haha 🙂 Teachers tended to discipline them better than me 🙂

  46. Props to you mama for taking the time to sort it out AND help out in the classroom!

  47. Fantastic! It must be so daunting coming into a new school. And paperless?! How on earth…
    Good on you for going with your initial feelings and pursuing answers, otherwise she may have floundered alot longer!

  48. I am so relieved that this is the case and so glad you were able to discuss things with your teacher. I think it’s great that you followed your instincts but that you were also open to discovering why things were that way.

  49. It sounds like you have valid concerns and I’m glad it has all settled.
    Both my sons have teachers new to the school this year. Though one did some P/t work and is a mother of students there. She is also a friend (because of the kids) – she is a great teacher so far.
    My other son – I have no idea and when i am back home I’ll be going to parent to find out what she is like.

  50. Great post, Em. I’m glad you feel better about everything and that it’s all out in the open – now you can talk to the teacher throughout the year and work together.

    I don’t know why people don’t help out. We’re quick to complain, slow to help out. I’ll be in there helping if only because I’m a CONTROL FREAK who loves to know what’s going on with the kids! (Hubby has already predicted stoushes with the kids’ teachers along the way if they’re not correcting spelling and the like in the kids’ school work!!)

  51. You had an issue, you acknowledged it, discussed it, resolved it. Win win for everyone I think. I’ve been thinking about the P&C a lot lately, now that little bit is a bit older I guess I really have no excuses as why I shouldn’t be involved…

  52. So glad it’s worked out for the best Em. It’s such a horrible worry to think of your child being upset or not having the learning opportunities they should have. I wish I could help in Max’s class – bloody full time work 🙁

  53. What a great reflection Em. I think I will want to get to know my daughter’s teachers too when the time comes. It’s funny how much an impression can change when we take time getting to know someone! xx

  54. Reading your other post and then this one tells me that you were wrong about the feeling in the classroom and the rapport and about her knowing all the names, but that your other concerns are still valid.
    Here are my thoughts: People aren’t born with a work ethic and some of us have to think about social graces consciously *puts hand up*
    Maybe nobody has ever explained to her that she should be at work, in the classroom and with the first activity set out before first bell and it is part of her job to greet the parents and the children, and receive and necessary handover info at that time.
    I think the lack of parent helpers (apart from them working during the day or whatever) could be explained by her cold-fishiness at drop-off time…
    She really sounds like she needs a bit of mentoring, but that she’s got the goods to be a great teacher if she can develop her professional chops a bit.

  55. I’m glad you managed to arrive at a good resolution to the questions you had over this issue from the previous week. I think you managed to handle it fairly diplomatically and graciously. I also have to remind myself that there are always two sides to every story and try not to pass judgement or reach any preconceived conclusions too early on. It’s good that things can now settle in for the year with this teacher and the relationship she has with you and your daughter.

  56. I’m so glad you were able to get some resolution on this issue before any more of the year ticked by. This is my third year of being a parent of school kids and one thing I think I’ve learned is that parents go on as big a journey as the kids over the course of a school year! Your kids are just so precious, and they spend so much time at school, it’s natural to want someone who values them as much as you do to be responsible for their well being. As for volunteering, our tuckshop has closed down for the foreseeable future due to lack of volunteers. It’s a common problem with so many parents now working etc, but like you, I always try to do my bit.

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