1. I love your child just a notch below my own children.
Truly. And oddly, that love kicks in almost immediately, just like it did with my own kids.
2. I will miss your child for the rest of my life, even if your child was incredibly difficult and made my days long and exhausting.
3. When it comes to my job performance, you and your child are my primary concern.
If you're happy with my job performance, then my administrators will be satisfied as well. If they are not, something is seriously wrong with my administrators.
4. You are so very wrong if you view our relationship as adversarial in any way.
I only want to be your partner and friend.
5. When I ask you to call me by my first name, it's because I want to have the kind of relationship with you that requires first names.
There is no need for artificial barriers. We are both adults who love your child. Why would we not be on a first name basis?
6. Some of my closest friends (and the godparents of both of my children) are the parents of former students.
These relationships developed because we treated each other as equal partners in their child's education. If you and I are doing our jobs well, we should be friendly, if not actual friends, by the end of the school year.
7. There is nothing wrong with questioning my decisions.
I only ask that you don't question my intent or effort. Know that I am always trying to do my best on behalf of your child, and that despite my best intentions, I will undoubtedly make mistakes.
8. If I have done something that disappoints or upsets you, I hope that you will always come to me first.
You can't imagine how it much hurts to hear about your dissatisfaction secondhand, either from an administrator or (even worse) via the parent, teacher, or student rumor mill.
9. The single greatest lesson that I have learned in my 17 years of teaching is the importance of always following through with what I say every single time without exception.
Never make a threat or a promise that you cannot keep. I have applied this rule to the parenting of my children, too, and in both school and home, it has served me well. This is the one bit of parenting advice I pass onto you.
10. Please know that both legally and ethically, there are times when I want to say something or agree with you but cannot for a multitude of reasons, usually pertaining to the privacy of another student.
It can be frustrating for me, as I'm sure it is for you, but it's also my professional responsibility.
11. A lower-than-desired grade on a report card is only my honest assessment of your child's performance and not an indictment of your parenting or your child's potential.
It merely reflects academic achievement over a very specific period of time.
12. I will wonder (and worry) about your child's future for the rest of my life.
Tell them to write or visit every now and then. Please.