Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Positive Postcards

From the Apple

One of the things that make any new teacher's job easier is learning how to communicate with parents. Beginning teachers are often a little afraid of parents - maybe because they are afraid of being asked something they can't answer. The truth is that parents are sending the best that they have to school - it's not like they are keeping the good kids at home and just sending the problems to school. They want to know that someone understands and cares about their child - especially the parents who have problem children. For those parents for all of their child's school career, when the teacher calls, it means trouble.
The easiest way to turn that around is to make sure that the contact you have with each family includes some positive. Our principal suggests calling every parent before the end of the first week of school. Calling every parent the first week of school is difficult for some teachers, but it pays off in the end. Some teachers I know call before the parent gets home from work so they can leave a message instead of actually talking to a live person, but it still says, "I care about your child." Other teachers send out postcards before the children even come the first day to welcome them to the class or during the first week of school.

At my school we send "Positive Postcards" all year long. a "Good News from School" postcard appears stamped and in our box every Wednesday and the idea is to send at least one card every week. The postcard goes into the Principal's box by the end of the day so she can keep up with all the good things that are going on school wide and she mails the postcards. By the end of the year the goal is to have sent at least one postcard to every student in your class letting the child and their parents know that you are proud of something that the child has done. Teachers also send good news postcards to parent volunteers and others that help in their classroom. I can't begin to tell you how often a child has come in to tell me that he received my postcard and how excited he is. I also can't begin to tell you how often a parent has stopped me to say thank you. The picture below is twins who both received a postcard. They were so excited that their mom took this picture and sent it to me! So... Courtney, when you come home next weekend, you can expect to receive your own stack of stamped postcards that you can use to send to the children in your class. Let me know how it works out! I'll bet you'll be glad you took the time to write, "Great job!"

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