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The Best Expert Parenting Advice Ever

What your doctor, babysitter, preschool teacher, and all the other pros in your life really wish you knew -- but wouldn't dare say to your face!
The Preschool Teacher Preschool Teacher

Okay, tell us the thing you'd never say to our face.
If a parent doesn't follow my directions, I'll assume her child won't either. I give parents specific instructions -- fill out these forms by this date, e-mail instead of calling, don't put candy in your kid's lunch. As soon you break my rules, that creates an immediate bias against your child. And most teachers feel the same way.

Ouch. What else?
The six most lethal words to a teacher at the end of class: "Hi! Do you have a minute?" We hate that. Make an appointment. Likewise, don't pretend you're in my classroom to volunteer and then try to use that time to chat about your child's progress.

What's the biggest secret among teachers?
Just as you have a preferred teacher you want for your kid next year, we have preferred students we want for our classrooms. How to become a preferred family? Start each school year by sending your teacher this e-mail: "Please provide me with a wish list of 10 things you would like for your classroom." She'll ask for things like Post-it notes, a chess set, a 50-cent deck of cards. When you spend maybe $20 on these items, it goes through the grapevine that you are here not just for your kid but for the entire class -- that this is the family that cares about the community, whose child is probably a team player too.

P.S. The people pictured here are all models -- we had to swear to protect our sources.