Education, Parenting

Parents’ Sensitive Questions for Teachers

Sometimes you have burning questions you’re not comfortable asking your child’s teacher or principal directly. So we’ve done it for you; in this issue, we’ve asked representatives from Louise S. McGehee School (and McGehee’s Little Gate) and Metairie Park Country Day for their words of wisdom.

Q: Both my daughters—14 and 12—have had the same teachers over the years. My younger daughter, who struggles academically, feels she’s frequently compared to her older sister, who excels. Should we say something to the teacher when this happens?

 A: Why wait until it possibly happens this school year? Let the teacher know that your younger daughter can be sensitive to comparisons with her sister. A simple email, or in-person conversation, at the start of the year can be enough to let the teacher know to be mindful of this and will help the teacher to be sure to boost your daughter in those areas she excels in. The more a teacher knows what can help a student have a successful year, the better school year everyone will experience.

-Erin Toomey, Middle School history teacher, Louise S. McGehee School

A: Yes. As teachers we understand that we should never compare children, especially siblings. Each child is a unique individual and should be treated as such. Even with the best intentions, a teacher can unknowingly compare siblings. Educating children is a partnership. We value the perspectives of our parents and students because they provide useful information that can help guide how we teach and support each individual. Our goal is for students to feel that they are respected and cared for by their teachers – unconditionally.

-Paul Frantz, Middle School principal, Metairie Park Country Day School


Q: My twin sons’ Pre-K teacher has strongly suggested that I move one into another classroom this year. They want to be together. Is this a “universal” teaching philosophy—separate the twins? Is it important?

 A: Just as each individual child is unique, each set of twins are unique as well. Teachers see behaviors in a classroom setting as the children are amongst their peers that parents may not have the opportunity to see. If the teacher feels separation is necessary, then it is important to meet and discuss their options. The bond between twins is very special and splitting them up can cause anxiety for parents as well as children. It is important to have an open and honest dialogue with the teacher and school to come up with the best placement for both children.

-Melissa Mulvihill, Little Gate teacher, 2-year-olds

A: Principals and teachers make the important decision of where to place students based on their knowledge of the child or children, and after open and honest dialog with their parents. Children are placed in classrooms where educators and family members believe they can thrive. In education, there simply is no “universal” policy.

– Lilian Mullane, Lower School principal, Metairie Park Country Day School


Q: My daughter has mentioned that other kids in her class use bad language (at school, away from the teachers’ ears). They’re in 3rd grade. Is it ok to say something to the teacher?


A: Always feel comfortable reaching out to your teachers. Questions from parents and students provide an opportunity for open dialogue and are a wonderful way to build a foundation of trust. At this stage of development children are defining their boundaries and, through open communication, we can be there to support and guide them. These types of instances provide wonderful teachable moments.

-Angela Beerman, Lower School teacher, Metairie Park Country Day School


A: I would encourage the child to tell the teacher so she can address the situation when it occurs. If the child is reluctant to tell the teacher, the mom should absolutely discuss it with her. The teacher will appreciate the information.

-Ann Ecuyer, 1st grade teacher, Louise S. McGehee School


 Note: Some responses have been edited for length.

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