Sunday, August 19, 2012

School Has Started, Now What?

If you're like me, school has already started.  The bulletin boards are up, desks are in place, I'm as organized as I can get.   The first week of school is complete with only a few tears and not too many emails or questions.  But with such a large class this year, I know that I need to be proactive in my approach to just about everything, especially with parental communication.

Parents are the backbone of a school. We need to share in the joys and sometimes pains of their child's growth on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  Most parents just want to be involved, invited, consulted, and collaborated with about the direction of their child's education.  So, reaching out might be your best avenue to a successful year.

First and foremost, share your classroom expectations with your parents. If not immediately, at your back-to-school or curriculum night.  I always create a powerpoint so I don't forget what I want to say, and if I get nervous.  Nothing like staring at 60+ faces and forgetting what you want to say.  Here is the powerpoint I use, you are welcome to modify it for your class and school.

Mrs. Befort's Curriculum Night Power Point

Parent, Parent Communication, Classroom Communication

Secondly, I call parents when the email is longer than a short paragraph or it will take longer than 2-3 sentences to answer, and if something has occurred at school that is out of the normal.  For example, their child was crying because they were lonely, their child was sick, their child was injured, or if there needs to be some corrective action or parent involvement in relation to the child's behavior or classroom work/grades.  I keep a log of all of my contacts so that I do not have to go back through hundreds of emails, and I always write a short paragraph about our conversation. My log is stored on my desktop and a portable hard drive for reference. Lastly, I try to contact the parents as soon as the incident has occurred so I can get them on board immediately to resolve the issue.  When speaking with the parent, keep it positive...start with a positive, and end with a positive, keep the meat of the issue for the middle of the conversation.  Don't take it personally, and if things get out of hand, involve your administrator immediately for support. I've attached my communication log below for you!

Mrs. Befort's Communication Log

By being proactive, you will ultimately effect test scores, have improved student and parent attitudes about school, improve grades, increased parent support for the school and your classroom, and create better relationships with the community.  Remember, this is not full proof, but by being upfront and direct about your expectations, classwork/homework, routines, your year will be that much smoother. 


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