1. If we teach small children, don’t tell us that our jobs are “so cute” and that you wish you could glue and color all day long.
2. I’m not a marriage counselor. At parent-teacher conferences, let’s stick to Dakota’s progress, not how your husband won’t help you around the house.
3. We’re sick of standardized testing and having to “teach to the test.”
4. Kids used to go out and play after school and resolve problems on their own. Now, with computers and TV, they lack the skills to communicate. They don’t know how to get past hurt feelings without telling the teacher and having her fix it.
5. When I hear a loud belch, I remember that a student’s manners are a reflection of his parents’.
6. Your child may be the center of your universe, but I have to share mine with 25 others.
7. Please help us by turning off the texting feature on your child’s phone during school hours.
8. Guys who dribble a ball for a couple of hours a game can make up to $20 million a year. We educate future leaders and make about $51,000 a year.
9. We take on the role of mother, father, psychologist, friend, and adviser every day. Plus, we’re watching for learning disabilities, issues at home, peer pressure, drug abuse, and bullying.
10. Kids dish on your secrets all the time—money, religion, politics, even Dad’s vasectomy.
11. Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals. A gift card to Starbucks or Staples would be more than enough. A thank-you note: even better.
12. We love snow days and three-day weekends as much as your kid does.
13. The students we remember are happy, respectful, and good-hearted, not necessarily the ones with the highest grades.
Sources: American Federation of Teachers; interviews with elementary and middle school teachers in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and Texas.