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EulerLover EulerLover is offline
 
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Tell me a story about talking with a parent.
Old 05-26-2016, 11:29 AM
 
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I've student taught for one semester, but I did not get a lot of experience talking with parents. I only contacted two parents as a student teacher and one of them never responded. When I get my own classroom I want to try to have a good relationship with all of the parents of my students. I've been given some advice about how to do this, but I'm interested in hearing personal stories about connecting with parents. Tell me a story about talking with a parent, whether it's a story of what to do, or what not to do, I'm listening and learning.


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My story
Old 05-27-2016, 08:23 PM
 
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I have a couple of students who are chronic behavior problems. I take every opportunity to call when they are having a good day. I have worked with them for a number of years, and have a good relationship with them. The kids really buy into getting to call home for positive things.
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From a parent perspective
Old 05-28-2016, 02:21 AM
 
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I teach in elementary, but I've had two DKs graduate from high school and have a third there now. My kids aren't troublemakers. (Thank you, Lord!) But I sometimes have questions on test results or a field trip form or whatever. My primary and preferred form of communication for personal questions is email. But for teachers, the difficulty in high school is that you have only a few classes, but a lot of students in each one. So one-to-one communications would be onerous. For class info--when is the project due, what chapter are we on--I prefer to look on a Web site.

At the beginning of the year, set up and then maintain a Web site that parents can check in on. Our system uses Edline, but there are others. If you post, say, weekly on test dates, activities and such, you may be able to head off a lot of individual emails. I've found that it takes a few hours to build the site at the beginning of the year because you have to enter the framework info, but then it takes just minutes to update each week. Your technology coordinator should have a way for you to set up email "blasts" to individual classes, which might help too.

Remember, though, that high school is a time where students are supposed to take responsibility for their work. So really, you likely won't have much parent contact. I have little with my own kids' teachers. I've never even met some of them.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
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Communication is the Key
Old 05-28-2016, 04:07 AM
 
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Middle schools and high schools usually have some type of communication system for class work and grades. I suggest keeping up-to-date with whatever type of system your school has.

Post info about classes (homework, long-term projects, upcoming tests), unfinished/late assignments, and grades promptly. You will avoid parent emails if you do this.

I think Teacherwriter gave you some great advice too.
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Old 05-28-2016, 04:29 AM
 
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Since you are in high school you will probably not have as much parent contact as an elementary teacher would. I like what a PP said about having a website. Something that parents can refer to without having to contact you.

I think the most important thing is to let parent's know as soon as possible if a student is struggling academically and DOCUMENT it. I've heard a lot of high school teacher complaints are angry parents calling or emailing at the end of the year asking for extra help. If you document that you have contacted the parents throughout the year and their child's lack of effort (or whatever the cause is) then the parent can't argue with you.

Also, keep things positive when you can! Parents do like to hear good news I believe.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


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Old 05-28-2016, 05:14 AM
 
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Let the parent know about the good you see in a student: a talent, a quirk, a character trait, an ability.

Listen to the parent. Parents know their kids better than we do.

Be willing to adjust your thinking about a student. Not every student has the same goal.

Don't be fooled. Some parents will lie to you. They will do anything at all to keep their child out of trouble or get their child into the school of their choice. Hold your ground. Seek administrative support.
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Thank you
Old 05-28-2016, 06:09 AM
 
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This is all great advice and an interesting read!
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:38 AM
 
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I teach elementary school but have a ds in hs and one that graduated. I always start parent contact with a positive comment before I go into the reason for the phone call or meeting. Your district will probably have an online gradebook, keep that up to date so parents can contact you if needed. As previously stated, document everything. I keep a notebook in my bag that stays with me. I write daily things in it with the date and notes. It comes in handy when the parent states "my snowflake would never do/say that". I take out my notebook and explain the dates, times, and what was said or done. Don't be afraid to end a meeting if a parent gets angry. Just state the meeting is over and leave. If you don't feel comfortable meeting with s parent alone, ask the guidance counselor or p to sit in with you. I have never been refused. Most parents are wonderful and you won't have many problems. We are concerned about our kids and want them to succeed. Good luck in your career.
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Welcome to PT and as future reference:
Old 05-28-2016, 07:15 AM
 
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another place for you to post is on the busy board. Sometimes some boards get more views and responses than others. PT is an awesome place to get real and helpful answers.

Good luck with your career!
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My advice
Old 05-28-2016, 09:08 AM
 
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  • Be a good listener when they come to you.
  • When you go to them make sure you always start out with the positive before jumping to the issue
  • Be understanding.
  • Tell them you want to be their partner in their child's education. Tell them you want to work together to resolve issues.
  • Make sure you tell them one thing their child does very well.
I know as a parent myself when I had to speak to the parents I hated when they would act as if they knew more than I did or were superior to me and my child, or that issues were actually my fault...
I think you get the idea.

Good Luck!! I'm sure you'll be great!


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Keep It Simple and Document Everything!
Old 07-02-2016, 08:13 AM
 
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One principal told me to simply write something like, "I'd like to discuss something with you regarding Johnny in English class. When is a good time to call, and at what number, please."

Then CALL the parent. The more that's put in writing the more things can get twisted.

Then call and send YOURSELF an email documenting it and what was discussed in the conversation.

Hope this helps,
-TFP
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