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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #032-- October 2012 Ezine
October 01, 2012

Hello everyone - I hope that your first month of the school year ran smoothly and wasn't as hectic as you thought it would be.

During the first couple of months of the school year, it's very important to start building strong relationships with students, parents and staff. So that is why I am continuing on this theme from last month in this month's newsletter. I believe that my tips will help you when certain issues arise.

How Do Teachers Teach?

I think it's crucial that students, parents, and the public know how we teach, as it is vital to our acceptance and success. Often they don't know enough about the educational process. Hence, they only understand grades on a report card, which as you know can create problems.

We have a responsibility to implement good teaching strategies. We use a variety of methods, equipment and materials that make the educational process more creative and exciting. We enforce the techniques of teaching, testing, reteaching and retesting until students master the skill or concept.

It's not enough to just teach every day. We need to take the time (at some point during the year) to completely explain to students and their parents how we teach. Also reflection and review are cornerstones to our teaching methods. We must constantly examine what we do and how we do it.

Staff Relationships

Have you ever been in a staff/division meeting and have to vote on a controversial issue? We have to draw a line between doing our jobs and playing games with the situation or the people involved. We have to respond in a professional manner. We must fulfill our responsibilities to those in authority and not forget the chain of command. If we forget that, we could make a bad situation worse..

Conflict can occur if you say different things to different people. It's important to state identical messages to all the people involved.

School paper work can be overwhelming. However, taking the time to send or give unexpected notes can be invaluable in creating good relationships. Think about it. There are many opportunities to send a kind word to a colleague; a thank you note to someone who helped you, a cheery message, I heard the "good news" note. Of course they're not necessary to write, but they are so valuable and worth giving and totally gratefully received.

At time, you may get angry about something happening to you or in your school and you often say to yourself "I'm going to keep quiet. I'm not going to start up". What may happen is that your anger may reach a boiling point or it could make you bitter.

Things to remember: speak calmly, clarify your position, talk in specifics and reveal a sense of responsibility, and if you are becoming too upset, tell the people involved that you need more time to think things through and walk away. Later on, when you are calmer, you can make your points more effectively.

There are always a variety of committees to sign up for. But, at times, they can be ineffective which may lead to friction and a lack of productivity. If that happens, perhaps the committee can re-evaluate or even merge with another committee.

Lastly if you borrow something from one of your colleagues, return it as soon as you're finished with it. If not returned, they will be reluctant to lend you things in the future and you could also get a bad reputation.

Parent Relationships

Your attitude and approach are vital when dealing with parents regarding a problem their child is experiencing. To develop good relationships and help solve the problem, think of assistance and avoid thinking that you are "the boss" of your classroom.

Remember, they have the knowledge, skill and responsibility of and for their children and their problems and what works and doesn't work at home. It's a partnership - the parents and you. You have to keep that in mind to solve the problem and create good relationships.

You can connect through notes in the student's agenda/planner, by email, phone calls or through parent teacher conferences at school.

If a parent asks for your advice, remember to keep in touch with them. Recognize the efforts of the parents; value the job they have done (they need strokes and incentives too), don't let them think you forgot about them and finally ask if they need additional help. Remember this is new and different for them.

When a parent asks you a question, make you answer brief and honest. Be careful not to make the answer too lengthy, beyond the question asked. That may discourage them from asking further questions and may lose their confidence in you.

Try to create an open door policy for remedial help for your students. Schedule certain times (convenient for you) and let the office and parents know the days and times available.

When you are arranging a parent teacher conference and you call or send a note home, don't start with a negative. Try to say what you have to say in a positive manner. Instead of saying "We have a problem", you should say "Together we can quickly solve a problem your child is having". Believe me, you'll get a better response when you approach in a positive way when dealing with parents, regardless of the problem at hand. "Don't waste learning the tricks of the trade. Instead learn the trade".

For more priceless teaching strategies on developing stronger teacher parent communication, please read my page on parent teacher communications.

There's a lot here to digest. But, I hope that I have given you some things to think about and that you will find these helpful tips invaluable.

Future newsletter topics: Being a Good Communicator; Qualities of an Effective Motivator; Managing Positive Behavior in your Classroom.

Have a GREAT October everyone! Thanks for checking out Please tell your colleagues about it.

Happy Halloween... Boo!! Be sure to check out my page on halloween classroom activities. Enjoy.

Happy trails,


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