With back to school here, teachers tell us what they really want

With school having started in some counties and about to begin in the rest, Atlanta area teachers are ready for your kids.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 111,133 public school teachers in Georgia.

We talked with several instructors, from elementary to high school, and asked what they most wished for this school year. Here is how they responded:

"I wish for cooperative parents and well-rested students."

Angela Paul, high school  math and science,  Gwinnett County

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"I wish for plenty of school supplies."

 Parissa Styles, fifth grade, Cobb County

"I think my biggest wish when I was teaching public school in Gwinnett County, was for the kids and parents to take personal responsibility for what is theirs. Being prepared for class with proper supplies, owning up to big mistakes, admitting poor study habits. All these belong to the individual alone. Students are full of excuses of why 'it's not my fault.' "

Mary Schirm, middle school science, Gwinnett County

"How about parents helping to instill an attitude of eagerness to learn? ... More important than having that pencil in hand is to have a mind ready to have fun and learn, not dreading or being 'too cool' for school."

Virginia Lucy, science, Cobb County

"This summer, please make sure your child does his/her summer reading. Throughout the school year, hold your child responsible for telling you his progress, explaining any low grades, and asking his teacher for help and/or ways to improve his grade. Don't rush in to 'save' your child every time you see that he is falling short in a class. Sometimes, and I know that this is hard to do and watch, you MUST let your child either dig himself out of his own 'hole' or simply pay the consequences (by attending) summer school, not being allowed to play a sport or failing the class. Kids need to learn resilience, and we deny them the chance to do this when we try to prevent them from falling into those academic 'holes.' "

Elizabeth Clark, ninth and 11th-grade language arts, DeKalb County

"I would love for parents and teachers to see each other as allies working together for the benefit of children. So often parents and teachers seem to view one another with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility, and I suspect that some children take advantage of that perceived animosity. And as long as we're 'wishing,' we need more respect from the public, better financing from the government, and a culture that values learning and thinking more than grades."

Denise Wood, high school English, Henry County

"I would have every administrator pay teachers overtime for every meeting and every task that is not directly related to teaching their current students. I am very concerned that changes in certification requirements will require administrators to create busy work for teachers that will sap them of the energy they need for their students. Parents need to be aware of how much time teachers spend in things that are couched in educationese yet have little to do with teaching their children. Thanks for the chance to vent!!!"

— Terri Evans, music, Fulton County

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