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How Winning Teachers Use Communication
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Even teachers with the strongest classroom skills can fall short without strong communication wiht parents.  Here are some ideas to share to strengthen teacher communication:

Let parents and students know how you prepared for your teaching assignment and what you are doing to stay current in your area of expertise.  Display your diploma.  Be a model for life-long learning.  And, make sure you know your stuff.

Help students and parents know you as a professional... and as a person.  Of course parents and students want to know your qualifications, but they are also looking for something they can relate to - something that makes you just like them.  Tell students and parents about yourself the first day of school (or sooner, if possible).

Show parents the agenda.  Parents want to know your goals for the year, the subject matter you'll cover and your instructional timeline.  Give them an overview at the beginning of th eyear and provide them with specific updates at least monthly.

Clearly communicate what you expect . . . from both students and parents.  If you expect students to ask questions and participate in classroom dialogue, tell them.  The same is true for parents.  They need to know if you want parent involvement and what form it should take.  They need to know if you want parent involvement and what form it should take.  They need to know if it's okay to call you and the best time to phone.  Open a dialogue with students and parents and you'll get more support than you expect.

Report progress twice as often as you think you should.   Students want more frequent feedback on how they're doing in class.  Parents may be even more demanding.  The Internet has hooked people on instance access.  They expect teachers to use it to keep  them posted.

Increasingly, the say that they'd like to see the lesson plan for the coming week over the weekend, and be able to access a report of their child's progress on the following Friday.  Some parents even want access to information about their child's progress on a daily basis.

Coach your class - one student at a time.  Many students and parents say that teachers rarely make comments about student work or give suggestions for improvement.  Make sure you do this.  Students want to know how well they're doing how they might do better.  Their parents want to know, too.

Celebrate each child's success.  Everybody wants to be recognized for something.  Teachers know the research on self-esteem, motivation and satisfaction.  Recognition is at the heart of it.  And they know that even a little individual attention is a good thing.

Don't get silly about homework and class projects.  Students have a life beyond school.  They shouldn't spend every night toiling at homework assignments or projects.  Parents have a life too.  Most of them would rather not spend their evenings helping their children with school work.  Infringe on family time carefully.

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Source: Adapted from Ten Tips from the People on How to Be a Winning Teacher, by Bill Banach, APR, Banach, Banach & Cassidy; 586/784-9888; www.banach.com.


 

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