Charleston teachers have a few words of advice for local parents as kids head back to school

Teacher Says

As Charleston students (and parents) mentally prepare for back to school time, we wanted to turn to a few of the patient souls who will become your kids’ best friends over the next few months.

What general advice do you have for parents ahead of the new school year?

“My best advice to parents is to remember that your child’s teacher is on the same team you are on. You both want what is best for your child, and a team works best if they work together. Keep a line of communication open between you and the teacher so you can make sure you are always working towards the same goals.”

—Child Development, North Charleston

“Trust your child’s teacher. Don’t immediately jump to conclusions or believe your child 100 percent. If you have a question or a problem talk to the teacher first. Teachers really do love your kids and want what’s best for them.”

—Elementary school writing, West Ashley

“We want to know as much about your kid as we can. Anything that will help us in making it a successful year is worth mentioning. Please know though that the beginning of the year can be super stressful for teachers, so please ask us what the preferred method of communication is and that way we can respond/read more quickly.”

—5th and 6th grade, North Charleston

“Your children are people. Sometimes they are very frustrating people or secretive people or annoying people, but they are people whose agency and individuality should be respected more. They deserve privacy and autonomy. Many of my students have no adults in whom they can confide — their hopes, their fears, their anxieties, their mistakes, their successes — because all of the adults in their lives do not listen without judgment or harsh censure. If you want your children to talk to you, you have to talk to them. You have to show them that you’re a person to be trusted — not to be feared. Cultivate a relationship of respect and dignity with your children.”

—High school English, James Island

What advice do you have for students?

“We are all in this together. Your teacher is your biggest cheerleader, and we are always here to help. All that we ask is that you try your best, and we will help you reach your goals.”

—Child Development, North Charleston

“Ask questions if you don’t understand.”

—Elementary school writing, West Ashley

“You are starting out your school year fresh. Anything that happened last year that may have been ‘bad’ or that you didn’t like is in the past. Your teachers want the best for you and advocate/let us know how we can best help you!”

—5th and 6th grade, North Charleston

“Drink water. Get some sleep. Eat a meal. Do the reading. Ride a bike. Laugh with your friends. Listen to music. Don’t be afraid of what comes next. You got this.”

—High school English, James Island

What advice do you have for parents that’s specific to your subject area or grade level?

“Breathe! Every child develops at different rates. Encourage your child to try their best, but also encourage them to have fun. Preschool is where children develop a love for learning, and that is more important than pressuring them to learn their letters by a certain date.”

—Child Development, North Charleston

“School should be your child’s number one priority. If there is homework, it needs to be done, even if you have family obligations.”

—Elementary school writing, West Ashley

“Older kids aren’t as forthcoming in sharing details about their lives. If there are things happening outside of school, or if your child has expressed any issue to you then please contact the school and let us know so we can best support your child.”

—5th and 6th grade, North Charleston

“No one ever died from reading the word ‘fuck’ in a book — or even reading it aloud! Please stop emailing me about it.”

—High school English, James Island

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