Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Communicating with Parents

Communicating with parents is one of the most important parts of being a teacher. I can also be one of the most dreaded.

I, myself, have stared at the phone, getting up the courage to call a parent. The days of holding teachers in the utmost respect are gone, and I have often found myself getting blamed for a students' bad behavior.

I once had a parent tell me that it was my fault her daughter was cheating on a test because my test was too hard!

With all of this in mind, I keep slogging away, trying to keep the lines of communication open. This can be especially difficult in a school where parents don't have e-mail. It is so easy to type out a quick e-mail and shoot it off - this is my favorite way to give a kid a pat on the back. Since most of my e-mails are positive I don't have the issues with tone that can come from other e-mails (who hasn't had that problem?!).

Plus, I have the added issue of having parents who don't speak English.

With all of these complications it would be so easy to throw up my hands and not think about it, but I owe it to my students to keep trying.

I only spend an hour a day with these kids - I need the support of their families. Plus, I want the kids to know that I care about them and will do everything I can to help them be successful. For this reason my parent-student conferences are always focused on creating a plan or coming up with strategies to do better. No one wants to be lectured at and it doesn't do any good (I was lectured to a lot as a teenager and it didn't affect my behavior at all).

All of these things are swirling in my head this week as I have a parent conference every day after school! This post was supposed to be about all of my ideas about communicating with parents and it turned into my own little pep talk :). All of the parents I have worked with have been super supportive and that has been a pleasant surprise.

I also found out that several of the kids I am meeting with are good friends outside of school (and so are their parents). I think this will make the conferences even more helpful because we will all be on the same page.

Anyway - just a few random thoughts on a subject weighing heavily on my mind right now - parent communication.

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