Truethfully it is the families that children come from that cause me the most trouble. When I as a professional give you my opinion and the parent either sluffs it off or says that is not my child there is a problem. Families who do not take part in the child's life (allow too much TV and videos games etc) are causing more trouble than good.
My greatest challenge is juggling the demands of my job. I teach a full day kindergarten and there is a that needs to be done . . . . preparing materials, homework packets, planning lessons, putting up bulletin boards, assessing students, grading materials . . . committees and other school responsibilities. I have 23 students and no help. Not to mention, most of the materials that I use I pay for out of my own pocket. The budget is tight. I am talking the basics . . . glue, scissors, pencils, crayons. My principal is adament that we not ask parents for these things.
The requirements of what students need to know has increased and the pressure is on. Kindergarteners are now supposed to know how to read, write, add and subtract. Unfortunately, I have children who come in and have not been exposed to print. They can barely hold a pencil. Some come in with very little social skills. Teaching social skills and the academic requirements are very challenging.
Modern parenting is also challenge. I have parents who do not parent. They treat their children as if they are their best friend and do not set limits. I get kids who have never had anyone say "no" to them before. Convincing a kid that certain behaviors will not be permitted at school is very difficult. I get parents who are infuriated that a teacher would have their kid lose five minutes of recess when their child hits another child.
I have come to the conclusion that all I can do is my best. I try to ignore parents that are difficult and unreasonable. I try to enlist parents who are helpful to be class helpers. I have put my foot down about certain things that I will not purchase out of my own hard earned money.
I absolutely LOVE what I do for a living! I can think of no other job that could possibly be as rewarding as teaching. However, my greatest personal challenge is finding time for myself and my family. I feel as though I constantly have to plan my personal time, time with my husband, and time with my children. I suppose that in a way I am lucky - I know that my personal time is limited and so I schedule it with the things and people that are most important to me. I try very hard not to let time get away from me. Life is too short to not spend it with those that we love doing what we love. I have the best of both worlds - I do what I love (teach) and schedule my personal time with those that I love. The greatest gift you can give your child's teacher is your help. If you want to make a real difference for him/her, donate an hour a week to helping make copies, cut out materials, or work with a child that needs extra help. This means more to a teacher than you can possibly imagine! Every hour spent by a parent helper is an hour of time you have given to that teacher. I also have a parent that periodically brings me lunch - what an amazing treat!! Good luck with your child's kindergarten year!
Parents that think their child is the only child in the class are especially difficult. Also, parents that think their child can do no wrong or don't understand why little "Sally" shouldn't be stealing are very hard to deal with.
I notice that it can be hard for parents that are used to hanging around the preschool classroom to get used to the inaccessibility of Elementary teachers. However, it is important to remember that our job is working with the children and that although we do think about the parents, at the end of the day we are done. We wouldn't walk into your place of business and expect you to stay late, miss your lunch, or stop working just so that we can chat.
If you are looking for a way to support your child's teacher, be helpful and understanding. Teachers are highly trained professionals but are not always treated that way.
I also love my job, but there are definilty many challenges. I have 24 students of all different levels, and more and more demands being placed on me. The amount of time they want us to dedicate to each subject si impossible and on top of that the children have to learn social skills. I almost lost it when at a conference this summer they said we need to teach children to have a conversation, because children today don't know how. There is no way to fit everything in because the children come with less and less skills both academic and social each year- not all of course but it seems more each year. And the large gap between those with lots of parental involvement at home and those with none is making teaching to all their needs even harder. If I could have one thing to make teaching easier it would be smaller class sizes, that is all.
My greatest challenges are meeting the needs of all 25 of my students and keeping my students' parents happy! Some parents constantly want to nit-pick everything us teachers do. That is very annoying. Some parents don't understand that we have 25 students, not just their one child. Also, those struggling students that don't make progress or make very slow progress really frustrate me. It seems like when they come from a home where they weren't read to, talked to, etc., it is that much more difficult to get them where they need to be to successfully move to the next grade. In my district, they don't hold students back until 3rd grade. They are way behind at this point. I feel like they should be held back when there is an evident problem, not three years later just because that is the "rule".
My biggest challenge is talking while I am talking! Talking while I am talking grrrrrrrrrr!! I don't mind if they talk during centers, morning work, independant, lunch room, but during carpet time its my time...I could save myself 15 mins easily a day. If they would just be quiet while ont he carpet!
How do I manage this, I try to whisper as much as possible so they have to be quiet to hear me, but you still have those few that keep on going without noticing me at all.
I would definitely have to agree that my greatest challenges would include the families of the students. The lack of "old-school" type parenting is definitely noticeable. My kindergarteners know waaay too much about life, some of them rarely do homework (the ones who need it the most), and their parents are quick to justify their wrongdoings.
It's really frustrating to look in the face of a child and know that through no fault of his/her own, he/she will not progress to the next grade level with the rest of the class. It's really frustrating to see the students who come in unable to recognize any letter of the alphabet, unable to spell their names, and in some instances can't even scribble legibly. It's like "what the heck were you doing with this child for the past 5 years??". Then I have one student who is very bright, but has been suspended twice (for hitting teachers-myself included), throws the worst tantrums I have ever witnessed, and each time his mom comes up with some faculty-related excuse for his behavior. The last time, she was arguing with the principal that I should have let her son pick which chair/table he was going to sit at. *Incredulous!!!*
Yes, I would definitely say that at this grade level, SOME parents/families provide the most hindrance for their own children.