Friday, September 20, 2013

Parents: Can't live with them, can't live without them!

Last night was our BTSN and overall it was good, and in some ways annoying.  I came up to fourth from third so I know some of these parents pretty well already, which means I have a better understanding of their thinking.  Dealing with parents was not my forte.  I was blunt, to the point, didn't sugar coat, and probably told the parents too much what they didn't want to hear.  I have learned over the years how to make it a mutually beneficial relationship, sometimes I am successful, others I am not, but always a learning experience.  So far this year, we are all smiles and they are in love with me. I haven't completely changed how I communicate but I've tweaked it and added some proactive approaches to deterring meltdowns.  Here are some ways I build a good relationship and communicate with my parents. (my 5 for Friday)

1.  Take a cute notepad, put one student's name at the top from your entire class, over and over again.  Each day, pull the top paper and write a positive note home to that child and their parent.  I know we have some kids that it would be difficult to find a super positive for, but it can be anything.  Try to send one to every kid in your class within the first two weeks, and then keep doing it throughout the year.  The kids love taking positive notes home, and the parents appreciate that you've recognized their child.

2.  Make your expectations for your parents clear just like you would with the students.  if you've told your parents to give you three days notice before bringing in cupcakes, and they bring it in the day of or before, simply say (like I did yesterday), because you only gave me one day's notice and I've asked you to give me a week, she will have to take her cupcakes to the cafeteria to share with the students and won't be able to do it in class.  It can be hard to do, and you want to appease them, but just like kids, if they know you mean what you say the hassle will be less later.

3.  This tip has worked wonders for me.  A weekly email, not newsletter, a detailed, this is what your child will be learning and expected to know this week email.  I always start with reminders instead of for the end, then I go into each and every subject detailing what lessons they will be taught and what it will look like.  i provide examples, websites, and links for more information. I get so many emails saying that they love these emails because it helps them to know exactly what is going on and how to support them, that I am never turning back.

I know many of you have newsletters that your grade level, district, school sends out.  THEY DON"T READ THEM!!  But they do read those emails.  Keep them concise and not overwhelming.  Save them.

4.  Document, save, and file all emails from parents.  My outlook at work deletes the email after 3 weeks, and there have been too many times that parents call me to the carpet over not informing them, or they were not made aware, etc.  I don't pay them no mind, I just forward the email where I did inform them, highlight their email, and press send.  It may seem harsh, but it works.  Also, if a parent decides to go off on you, it's your documentation for your principal.  Hopefully, this has not happened to any of you, but it has with me, and it saved my behind.

5.  Be thoughtful when you communicate with your parents.  You NEED to be honest, they need to know what is really going on with their child, sandwich it.  Positive, negative, positive.  But don't sugar coat it, if you do that too much, they may not think the negative is that serious.  Even if it is all positive, give them some kind of feed back to help in some way.  

Those are my five thoughts.  If you have more to add, please do.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of using outlook to store emails, use onenote. It's free and included with office. The notes can be saved to a Microsoft skydrive for cloud access or sharing. Cloud storage also adds a versioning and backup element.

    EMAIL IS NOT A STORAGE MEDIUM. Take it from an IT Pro, please. Storing all those emails in outlook will only lead to disaster, especially if you save them all in a single PST file and fail to backup. Do not trust outlook.

    Converting emails to one note is done from within outlook and is a couple simple clicks. You can organize and file everything. Files can be embedded, and pictures can be done similar to a scrap book.

    If you use skydrive, which is free, you'll be able to access all of your filed material on a phone or mobile device with the appropriate Microsoft app (OneNote usually). This can be invaluable if you're not at your desk and need to reference the material or make a new note.

    As an added bonus, you'll be safeguarded against any subpoenas that request emails. OneNote isn't an email system, even though you're storing that data there. You can archive the data over and delete the received message. You'll still have timestamps and information needed for a legal situation but anyone looking to retrieve evidence from your account won't find anything.