Skip to main content

'I'm not your enemy': 10 things parents and teachers want each other to know

By Nicole Saidi, CNN
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
Click through the gallery to see some of the best responses to the following <a href='' target='_blank'>prompt posted on Facebook</a>:<!-- -->
</br>"The one thing parents/teachers <a href=''>really need to know</a> is _____." Some comments have been edited for length and clarity. Click through the gallery to see some of the best responses to the following prompt posted on Facebook:
"The one thing parents/teachers really need to know is _____." Some comments have been edited for length and clarity.
What parents and teachers say
Life at school: Parents should know ...
Life at school: Teachers should know ...
How students learn: Parents should know ...
How students learn: Teachers should know ...
Learning disabilities: Parents should know ...
Learning disabilities: Teachers should know ...
Children's behavior: Parents should know ...
Children's behavior: Teachers should know ...
Working together: Parents should know ...
Working together: Teachers should know ...
  • Ron Clark's 2011 essay was shared more than 898,000 times on Facebook
  • "What teachers really want to tell parents" became one of CNN's most-shared stories
  • CNN asked readers what parents or teachers really need to know. What do you think? Comment below

(CNN) -- Teachers and parents share a common purpose: educating children.

But differing beliefs, expectations and methods can make collaboration more challenging.

A 2011 story published on by author and teacher Ron Clark, entitled "What teachers really want to tell parents," looked at reasons why educators give up on their field.

He asserted that negativity from parents places undue pressure on teachers and advised greater cooperation.

"We are educators, not nannies," Clark wrote. "We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it."

His opinion consistently resonated with readers over the next couple of years, which made it one of CNN's most-shared stories on Facebook. The story has been recommended more than 898,000 times.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter @CNNLiving or "like" us on Facebook to have your say! Get the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Clark founded the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta and was named "American Teacher of the Year" by Disney and a "Phenomenal Man" by Oprah Winfrey.

But even Clark's status as a leader in his field didn't fully explain why this story captivated people, so CNN revisited the idea with Facebook users last week by asking them to finish this sentence: "The one thing parents/teachers really need to know is _____."

Readers responded enthusiastically with more than 750 thoughtful posts. Their answers revealed stewing frustrations from teachers and parents alike. A few teachers described parents who seem like they aren't doing enough to help their children. Parents chimed in, too, with some saying teachers should use different strategies to reach students.

The comments from the two groups created a spirited discussion that resembled a virtual parent/teacher conference. The exchange coincides with the time of year when many classrooms are having such meetings.

Several respondents indicated a need for cooperation, with teachers and parents as allies.

"Parents need to know we're in it for the kids; obviously not for the money," said Facebook user and Florida teacher Cindy Hoffman. "We're in a partnership, trying to do the best for the children as possible. Please don't treat us as adversaries."

Some parents expressed a desire for greater connection with schools.

"Teachers need to know that some parents do care and want to be involved," wrote Dana Fabrocini Dentino. "Also, the kids who do their work and are well behaved -- they need some attention, too."

And some readers, like Tiffany Jean Williams-Solod, can relate to both worlds.

"As a parent, teachers, I want my child challenged every single day, and if she doesn't get it, tell me so I can assist you," she wrote. "Don't be afraid to tell me if my child disrespects you."

She, too, joined the many impassioned cries for greater cooperation.

"As a teacher (oh yes, I am both) I want parents to stop blaming teachers and start working with us," Williams-Solod said. "We can't fix everything, but remember we are humans and we aren't perfect. Also, teach your kids to respect us."

Click through the gallery to read more perspectives in this digital parent/teacher exchange.

What do you think about this list, and what would you add? What do you think is most important for parents or teachers to know?

Part of complete coverage on
CNN Living reflects your life. From advice for modern parents to the freshest news in food: It's all here.
Summer is practically synonymous with cooking food over the fire and sharing it with friends and family. Here's how to grill great food, step-by-step.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Do you wish you could outsource the summer cooking, cleaning and camp planning associated with kids? You can.
updated 8:08 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
In April, Carol Rossetti began a personal project to continue practicing her drawing technique, "while saying something worthy."
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
"Obvious Child" has all the story arcs for romantic-comedy gold, but one of the film's major topics isn't often broached in theaters: abortion.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
A teen planned to build a tiny house with her parents for a school project, but after her father's sudden death, more powerful lessons emerged.
updated 12:15 PM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Our mothers and the women we look up to offer our first lessons in beauty and personal maintenance. What do they tell us about loving our gray hair?
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
rings matrimony
When a partner is terminally ill, do you still go through with the wedding? Meet people who said 'I do' with a future in doubt.
updated 5:40 PM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
You have a new home or your first apartment and dozens of crazy ideas to make it look the way you want. But what's your decorating style?