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There’s research out there saying that families spend ten or less hours per week together. This study states family time is only 49 minutes per day. Therefore, we as educators, need to trust our gut when it comes to students! We are with them MANY hours each day, and we see what is going on.
Now before I start getting hate mail, please know that I am not saying parents don’t know what is going on. Obviously people fall all over the board. Those 49 minutes mentioned above are the average – so there are people who spend more time with their children. Sadly, there are also people who spend less. I’m not here to judge! Some people have to work 2-3 jobs just to keep food on the table and a home to live in. Everyone has a reason for what they are doing, and that’s their business.Trust your gut!
With that being said, teachers spend hours with children each day. We typically see them from 8-3 daily. That’s seven hours that a student is in school. Even if you factor in a 30 minute lunch, two 15 minute recesses, and a 30 minute specials class – that’s still over five hours a day that a teacher spends with a child. This may be more time than a parent spends with their child all week.
Teachers trust your gut. You are with students for hours each day! Parents are not always aware of what is going on with their children. That’s not to say all parents don’t know – but on average, teachers spend more time in 2-3 days with students than their parents do all week long. This study from 2013 says that fathers spend just seven hours per week with their children, while mothers average 14 hours a week.
I know a child who’s teachers had been telling his mother since first grade that something just wasn’t quite right. Mom continually denied the claims. Thankfully teachers documented their concerns and these went into the child’s school record so the school had a paper trail. Finally – in fourth grade – it was found out that the child fell on the autism spectrum. His mother felt horrible that she did not listen to the teachers. She just assumed she knew better than they did.
One time a colleague of mine realized a child was holding her arm funny while trying to write. She asked what was up, and the girl said she fell off the playset at home over the weekend. The teacher asked if she had told her parents, and she said they weren’t around. A trip to the school nurse confirmed what the teacher was afraid of – the little girl’s arm was most likely broken. Mom was annoyed when she was called from work, but she agreed to take her daughter to the doctor. Sure enough – it was broken! The mom quickly got her casted and dropped her back off at school to finish the day.
Teachers – trust your gut! You are there to advocate and fight for your students each day! Yes, advocating something different than what a parent thinks can sometimes be tough – but do it anyway. Be professional. Treat the parent with respect. This is their precious child. You don’t necessarily know everything that is going on at home, so please do not judge. But continue to trust your gut, fight for your students, and work hard for everything you do each day.
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