#SOL19 Day 28 – Helicopter Teacher?

I hear the term “helicopter parent” all the time these days, but is there such a thing as a “helicopter teacher”? You know what I mean. Those teachers that some say do too much for their students.

In my opinion, no.

Reason #1: Time – Most parents live with their children. I see my students about one hour for a class that meets four times in a six-day cycle. That’s, at the most, four hours per week! Quite a difference! I find myself scrambling for any time I can get with them, and often that’s before school, after school, or during study halls. There’s just never enough.

Reason #2: Amount of Kids – I teach six classes, which is a total of 93 students. I have yet to meet a parent with ten kids, let alone 93! Even elementary teachers have around 20. That means I have 93 different learners. I often cannot get to every kid in class, even though I try my best. So, I often send out Reminds about upcoming deadlines. I seek them out in their study halls to catch up with them. I ask them to see me in Homeroom.

Reason #3: School Years End – Parents are (should) be parents for life. In June, I have to say goodbye to my kiddos that I’ve only known since September. That’s 10 measly months! I can only hope that I’ll see them again in the halls, or they’ll stop in to check out a book. Then they move on to the next grade, and the bonding starts again.

So, if a child, who rarely sees me feels comfortable enough to ask me for help, I’m going to help them! Yes I know that kids need to learn responsibility, and yes I know that they should have been doing their work all along, but they are seeking out help. So, I’m going to help! I’m not going to do the work for the child, but I may need to reteach a skill.

Take my conversation with Connor* today. He was a student of mine as a freshman and is now a senior in danger of not graduating. He comes late to school almost every day, and he often appears tired and dejected. Today, he sent me this Remind message: “Ms. K, I need your help. I only have a few months left and it’s not good. Can you talk to my teachers like you said?” (I had mentioned earlier in the week that I’d speak to his teachers and get missing work if he promised to come to school on time, and come to my Homeroom to work on the assignments.) He knows he needs help, so he asked me. So, I am helping. No questions asked. That’s what teachers do, and that’s who I am.

*Student’s name was changed to protect his privacy.

7 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 28 – Helicopter Teacher?

  1. I LOVE this. You are so spot on. Sometimes I feel paranoid about the amount of help I offer my students, but I especially like your point about how many kids you have. With my thirty students per 90 minutes, they get 3 minutes of my time per day, max. Gotta make those three minutes count! Thank you for this encouraging post.

  2. Yes, that is what we do, we help students who want and need help.
    We are trying to convince our administration that we need smaller classes. 26 kids in a class doesn’t allow me to get to every student to conference on their writing.

  3. Hmm. I had a different image of a helicopter teacher when you posed the question. I would agree that I wouldn’t call what you’re doing being helicopter-ish. How lucky for the students that you’re in their lives!

  4. Pingback: #SOL19 Day 29 – A Nice Surprise | Read, Reflect, Write, and Share.

  5. Thanks for the post. I need help! I teach middle school English. This year I have numerous kids failing my English class because they do not turn in assignments. FAILING! I post grades diligently on online, talk to the kids, email parents, make available extra copies of assignments, and the kids still don’t turn assignments in. I don’t really know what to do. Should I make them come to me and do their missing work during PE? Should I let them fail and hopefully learn a lesson (that can only be provided by the parents)? What’s going on here and what should I do?? Help!

    • What kind of assignments are we talking about? Is it mostly homework? If so, maybe less homework? I’ve learned that I cannot control my students’ home lives, so everything my students complete for my class is at least started and finished in class. The only reason it’s not turned in is if they don’t use their class time wisely—which is an avoidance issue or behavior problem that I deal with separately—or they were absent and need extra time.

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