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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #031-- September 2012 Ezine
September 01, 2012

I can't believe that I'm writing this September newsletter! It seems that a "blink" ago I was wishing you a restful and enjoyable summer. Sooo, welcome back .... again!

As you are probably aware, the first month of the school year is always extremely hectic, exhausting (back into the swing of things) and at the same time, exhilarating. Agree?

I LOVE new beginnings - new students to teach, new parents to develop positive attitudes and communication with, perhaps a new grade and maybe new staff and administration to work with in the coming year.

In September's newsletter I am focusing on teacher parent attitudes as there is the initial contact with parents in the first month. Have a look at my page on Teacher Letter to Parents to develop stronger teacher parent communication.

As teachers, it is our responsibility to encourage and initiate positive parent feelings through student recognition of good thing that our students, their kids do.

Howvever, that may not be easy to do. Parents may have had bad school experiences as children or they may not respond back to you, for example when you inform them that their child received a low grade or they don't attend " back to school night", etc.

In order to turn this around so that it is not detrimental to their child, your student, here are a few suggestions for you as their teacher:

1. You must continually acknowledge achievement by recognizing students who function at a high academic level. This is proof that we are teaching and your students are learning. If we want parents to know that we are doing our job properly, we must also acknowledge and reward student improvement in their attitute and behaviour.

Most people look at achievers as excellent role models and want to copy them. That's why recognizing their successes acts as a powerful motivator for your students and their parents. that's why you hould never group students with learning difficulties together - no role models to follow.

Remember, also, that excelling in sports or other activities are opportunities to provide great recognition as well.

2. We must always keep parents informed and offer help continually. Be consistent - let them know about their child's achievements and improvements. Remember to change parents' negative attitudes, acknowledge students' progress openly. Read my page on Student Agendas and keep parents well informed.

3. Inform parents of test results, special assignment and project marks. Don't keep them in the dark. When report cards are sent home, you don't want an irate parent calling you saying "I wasn't aware. Why didn't you let me know my child was having problems ( or failing)". Check out my pages on student assessment for more details.

Call, email (don't ever use your personal email), or see parents in person. Telling them what's happening (in aprofessional and tactful manner)with their child's progress will build positive parent feelings. Believe me!

4. Another way is to acknowlege another teacher's excellence. If another teacher is doing a great job to promote a child's progress, make the parents aware of it. Be professional, honest and sincere about the other teachers.

5. Lastly, acknowledge excellence of your administration. Remember you can't have a great school without a wonderful administrator.

It's easy to resent or ignore negative parent attitudes. But who's the big loser in the end ... their child, your student! This kind of behaviour is WRONG (on our part). we need to consider what WE (as teachers) can do to improve the situation.

You know that most parents do care about their child's progress. However some do not hold parents and school in high regard, but they do care about their child.

It's the caring that will motivate the changing of the parents' attitudes and it's up to us to nurture, encourage and maintain that support to make the student's year a happy and successful one.

Did you know that:

- when finishing a lesson, task or exercise, sum up first, before asking "Are there any questions". When reviewing, many questions are answered and then you can end on a positive note. This can also be applied when speaking to colleagues or parents.

- having a sense of humour reduces stress; but be careful how you use it. what might be a joke to one person, may be an insult to another. Know who you are speaking to - you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings when you thoght you were being funny.

- the saying "keep it simple, stupid" applies in many situations. For example, when you are writing notes to students, parents or staff, keeping it simple is more effective, meaningful and much easier to understand.

Another situation, when teaching a lesson, using big and unfamiliar words (especially in primary grades) may confuse the students and then they won't understand the concept you're teaching.

Enjoy the first month of a GREAT year ahead! Check out my pages on back to school for additional ideas. Have fun!!! Speak to you next month..

"Never has there been one possessed of complete sincerity who did not move others". Mencius

Happy trails,


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