This is an excerpt from the audio series Teaching on Your Feet by Rita Pierson.

Teachers are always searching for new ways to get things done. We’re searching for ways to involve parents, we’re searching for ways to motivate children. We are searching for answers that we need to make ourselves better. But rarely do we extend ourselves to ask what another group needs. We’re so involved with our own needs and wants that we rarely take into consideration that maybe another group needs something from us. So for a minute I want to talk about what parents want and expect from teachers.

Nobody ever asked them. That’s what a parent told me one night. She said, “Nobody ever asks what I want.”

And I said, “Well, what do you want?”

And she said, “Well, here’s what I’d like to see on my Christmas list of Teacher Wonderland.”

I said, “Tell me about it.”

She said, “I want to know that they love my child. I want to see it demonstrated. Not that they love the class, but that they love my child, with all his bumps and all his faults and all of the things that he might get into in the run of a day. When I talk to the teacher, I want to hear in her voice or feel in her spirit when I’m in her presence that she doesn’t think that my child is a thorn in her side. I want to know that she genuinely cares that my child succeeds or that she’s upset that he is failing. I want her to feel like I feel about him on days when we’re not having a good day and I love him anyway. Is that asking too much?”

To hear more about what parents want from teachers and what teachers can do in response, listen to the excerpt from Teaching on Your Feet.