For parents the first week back to school after the summer holidays is filled with mixed emotions - relief tinged with sadness, excitement for your children coupled with a smidgen of anxiety and exhaustion at school run chaos yet again. For teachers, the first week back at school is one of the most challenging times of year as they settle children into a new classroom routine while beginning to learn all the individual quirks of each child (and their parents!).
We asked teachers across the UK what they’d most like to say to parents in those first days of the new school year.
“If your children don’t know how to tie their own laces, take the time to teach them or buy them Velcro strap shoes. Please. Bending down to retie trailing laces umpteen times a day kills my back and my mood.” Becky, North Yorkshire
“To parents of key stage one children, I’d like to say they’ve had the whole summer of parents putting on shoes and clothes for them and now I’m going to spend half a term re-teaching them independence and organisation. For parents of older Key stage two children, please don’t let them forget basic manners and all they’ve been taught because then we’ll spend weeks getting them back to where they were.” Barbara, East Sussex
“I have 30 children in my class. Yes, I have reports from the previous year but I’m getting to know your children. I don’t have an opinion on your child’s maths aptitude or brilliance at writing. Not yet, and especially not at going home time when frankly I’m exhausted. Give me time.” Jenny, London
″That’s very kind of you to offer to help. I love it when parents can commit to regular reading with children, helping with art and craft or coming to swimming lessons. But I can’t work to your timetable, so Tuesdays between 10 and 11 after your yoga class doesn’t work. You’ve got to make a commitment or you’re no use to my class. Sorry!” Josephine, Cambridge
“I teach at a London secondary school. It is extraordinary the number of parents who come rushing in with forgotten homework/school lunch/PE kit. I’d like to shout: ‘Stop! Turn around! You’re not helping your child.’ We all forget things and screw up, but your children will never learn to be more organised, responsible adults who have to face the consequences of their actions (a short detention/a telling off/doing it in break time) and learn, if you’re always running after them. Trust us, we won’t let them starve.” Paul, North London
“It’s nice of you to take an interest but I haven’t had the ‘whole summer off’. I’ve been in school for the last ten days having meetings, planning lessons and preparing the classroom.” Siobhan, Birmingham
“At pick-up time when I see you shouting at your child or making silly threats you’re never going to carry through, I don’t think you’re clever. I feel sorry for your child and I know my job’s going to be harder this year.” Sarah, North Devon
“I’m genuinely sorry I mispronounced your child’s name. It must be annoying for you and your child. But in my defence I have a lot of names to learn quickly and faces to put to those names.” Leanne, London
“Label your children’s clothes. You don’t need to toil over fancy printed hand-sewn labels. Biro on the store label is fine. Do you know how many children in the year are wearing brand new M&S size seven to eight jumpers? I don’t want to spend the end of the day searching through the classroom and lost property because you couldn’t be bothered to spend a few minutes marking your child’s property.” Joanne, Sheffield