This fall, for the first time in 53 years, school will start without me. Back to school sales are no longer a trigger for me. I have taught for 34 years and now the door to my career — by choice — has closed.

More than 6,500 students have passed through my classroom. I gained more from teaching than I could have hoped. I will forever hope that my students' expectations were exceeded as well.

Today's parents are decidedly more involved in their children's education than parents of my generation were. I have seen firsthand how parental support for a teacher can change the trajectory of a child from failure to success. But I'm worried for the young teachers I leave behind. A few parents actually make teaching harder.

Retired now, I can say things I never could while teaching. Based on what I've learned from colleagues and personal experience, here's what I believe teachers want every parent to know.

The teacher doesn't hate your child. To hate a child would run counter to every internal instinct of teaching. More likely — and sit down for this — your child behaves in school in the same manner he/she behaves at home. But at home, there aren't 30 other children who need focus for learning to take place.

When your children say their teachers hate them it is almost always a ruse to cover for their own misbehavior.

Sometimes your child lies. Please hear me out. The fact is, a teacher navigates through a sea of lies every day. They range from simple lies ("I wasn't talking") to more impactful falsehoods ("I did the homework but left it at home"). This doesn't make your child bad (remember, you lied too and turned out OK). The difference is that your parents likely did not believe you when you called the teacher unfair. They didn't react when you said you were scolded. I bet they didn't even blink when you said you were being treated differently than everyone else.

Teenagers instinctively take the route of self-preservation. A lie will not have an impact on a teacher since no child can reach the point of no return. A lie does require the teacher to call it out if they value honesty and integrity among their students. Remember this when you ask teachers to tell "their side of the story."

Trust them to give you not their side but the truth.

Don't be a bully. Every teacher has been demoralized by a bully parent at one time or another. Maybe that parent had a bad experience with school. Maybe they are hypersensitive or trying to please their child. The vast majority of parents are outstanding, but it only takes one to ruin a teacher's week.

All parents support their children. Some, however, are not aware of what happens when they rip off that e-mail with a dark cloud hanging over their heads, or when they leave that scathing voice mail. The teacher will not sleep that night or will awaken in the middle of the night with the parent's words riding an incessant merry-go-round.

Teachers treated this way will wonder whether they should get out of teaching. Many will weep.

Teachers are good at self-reflection. It only takes a professional and polite conversation to bridge any divide. Meet them on that bridge rather than setting fire to it.

It's impossible for a teacher to meet all expectations all the time. Every teacher wants to hear what you have to say as long as you will listen to them as well. Work with them. Believe me, they will be motivated to work ever harder.

There's a certain sadness in me because I won't be in school this year to partake in the greatest profession I could have known. But I know I will never entirely be gone. Some 6,500 lives walked with me on a journey toward wisdom and fulfillment. I can still feel each one residing in my heart.

Earl J. Weinmann lives in Northfield.