An open letter to schools from a working parent.

Because there’s a few things we need you to know.

Dear schools/teachers/Principals and anyone whose life revolves around the education department (Private or public, we don’t discriminate here.)

As a working parent I have a few things I need to bring up. I’m speaking for myself, because I know not everyone will agree with me, but I do know there are many of us in this situation and I’m hoping they back me on this.

We respect the teaching profession. After all you’re teaching our kids, the future generation, and that’s a damn impressive role to take on.

But. Yes there’s a but. I do have some issues and there are some very important items of business I want to bring to your attention.

1. We need notice. 

You cannot expect us to attend an event with anything less than a week's notice. Actually, I'm being generous here, many people work on shifts or rotations, they generally get their rosters six weeks in advance and they can't be altered. And no we can't just 'move a shift'. Principals do you just let your teachers move their shifts as they please? I'll leave you to think about that.

2. The world does not stop at 3pm.

Please stop referring to the end of the day as 3pm. For most of us we're only just returning from lunch at this point. We still have 2, sometimes 3, more hours until we can even see our kids at this point. For those of us that shift work, sometimes shifts don't start until 3pm or later. So stop telling us to do all these activities in the afternoons. We don't get afternoons. The only workers who understand your stance on this are tradies. Go chat to them about how awesome 3pm is.

3. We get that you work during the holidays, but unlike you we cannot take our work home

Okay this is a huge one. We 100% get that you work over weekends and holidays and that your work isn't just 9-3. We get it but what you don't get is how lucky you are to be able to do this. Most of us don't have the option to take our work home with us and yes we also work on our holidays too. Can we just agree we both work hard and stop arguing about this one?

We hate saying goodbye to our kids knowing we'll miss things at school.

4. We feel guilty. 

We REALLY want to attend school events. We want to help our kids in any way we can but sometimes our work doesn't allow us to do that and we hate it.We feel so incredibly guilty. We hate saying no to our kids and we hate that we can't come to the events you schedule weekly for parents to attend but it really is too much to ask of us. We just can't go to everything and it kills us.

5. Technology exists, use it. 


Every school should have an official social media account. Yes. Every. Single. School.  Facebook is 11 years old. Twitter is 9. If you aren't on them in an official capacity you are behind the times by a long way.  Yes, good for you for sending a newsletter once a week, I'll be sure to check it between the other 2987 emails I get that week too. USE the technology. Do you know how much interaction you could have with parents on official social media channels? No, you don't do you, because you don't use them.

There's this thing called social media. Schools should use it to reach working parents.

6. Sometimes you should put activities outside school hours, we’d really appreciate it.

Discos, parent-teacher interviews and end of year performances - these are all things that could happen out of school hours. You keep telling us how often you work out of the 9-3 hours so it really shouldn't be a big deal to be around two or three times a year for an after hours activity that would give working parents an opportunity to participate.

7. We don't get holidays when you do. 

Please stop making our kids talk about what they did during 'their holiday'. Sure they were on holidays from school but they weren't on 'a holiday'. I'll save you the hassle. Until they are old enough to look after themselves their answer will be 'I was getting shipped to numerous relatives houses, I went to vacation care and I saw mum and dad for dinner exactly the same as we do during the school terms.'

Teaching is an amazing profession. Check out this awesome video showing the day in a life of a kindergarten teacher. Post continues after clip.

8. We love you! 

Yes, we really do love you. For all the reasons mentioned in the above video, we love you. Teachers are freaking amazing. You guys put up with so much crap. We love the work you do. Anyone with the guts to tackle 30 five-year-olds or 30 teenagers sure deserves any credit headed his or her way. You are mentoring and guiding our kids when we can't and we love you for that. We really don't want to be hating on your all the time. All we want is an equal relationship that helps us all give the best to our children. After all that's our mutual goal isn't it?

So teachers, can we call a truce? Can we work together, please? What do you say?


Working Mum

Are you a working parent? Do you agree with this list?

Want more? Try this:

Here we go again, working parents judging stay-at-home parents.

Confessions of a modern day working parent.